Litter Quality Affects Termite Sheeting Production and Water Infiltration in the Soil - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Year : 2019

Litter Quality Affects Termite Sheeting Production and Water Infiltration in the Soil

Abstract

This study aimed to understand the relationship between termite foraging activity and the ecological benefits derived from their activity in soil dynamics and water infiltration. A field study was carried out for six months, between pre-wet and wet seasons, with different food baits (elephant dung, Acacia auriculiformis leaves, twigs and leaves of Lantana camara as well as Ficus religiosa, Pterocarpus marsupium, Prosopis juliflora, Michelia champaca, Azadirachta indica and Hevea brasiliensis wood stakes) installed on the soil surface in a semi-deciduous forest in southern India. At the end of the experiment we determined bait consumption, water infiltration rate in soil, and the amount of soil sheetings covering the different baits. The initial infiltration rates under the baits were compared to those at the end of the experiment. Three termite species, Odontotermes obesus, O. feae and Microtermes obesi, were found associated with some of the baits in the study area. Among the different baits, elephant dung and Acacia leaves were the most preferred and a positive relationship was observed between the quantity of soil sheetings and the bait consumption rate. Termite preference for elephant dung and Acacia leaves was also associated with higher water infiltration rates. However, this difference was only significant at the beginning of the experiment and no significant difference was measured once the steady state was reached. In conclusion, we showed that resource quality was of primary importance for soil sheeting production but that the influence of termites on water infiltration remained limited, most likely because of the low stability of their tunnels in the soil.

Dates and versions

hal-02975297 , version 1 (22-10-2020)

Identifiers

Cite

Rashmi Shanbhag, Ajay Harit, Sougueh Cheik, Ekta Chaudhary, Nicolas Bottinelli, et al.. Litter Quality Affects Termite Sheeting Production and Water Infiltration in the Soil. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2019, 66 (3), pp.491. ⟨10.13102/sociobiology.v66i3.3741⟩. ⟨hal-02975297⟩
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