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Research Articles

Distinctiveness of termite assemblages in two fragmented forest types in Hantane hills in the Kandy District of Sri Lanka

Authors:

II Hemachandra ,

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya and Postgraduate Institute of Science, University of Peradeniya, LK
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JP Edirisinghe,

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, LK
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WAIP Karunaratne,

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, LK
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CVS Gunatilleke

Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

This study compares the termite assemblages in a natural and a secondary forest located at two different elevations in the Hantane hills, a tropical evergreen forest in mid country Sri Lanka, with a view to identify their distinctiveness. To sample the termites in the two forest types the belt transect method was used supplemented by random collections. A total of 11 species of termites in four genera belonging to three subfamilies and one family, Termitidae were recorded; nine species from the secondary forest and two species from the natural forest. The two species, Ceylonitermellus hantanae and Dicuspiditermes incola showed a distinct distribution in being confined only to the natural forest at high elevation. Termites recorded were put into feeding groups based on their taxonomic identity. Termites of the natural forest were found to be exclusively true soil feeders. Those of the secondary forest were wood feeders; either fungus growing (8 spp.) or non-fungus growing wood feeders (1 sp.). The high abundance and low diversity of the natural forest termite species in comparison to secondary forest species also make them distinct. Elevation, climate, vegetation, ground cover and the degree of human interference appear to contribute to the distinctiveness of termite assemblages in the two forests types reported here.

Key words: natural forest; secondary forest; species diversity; functional groups; elevation

DOI: 10.4038/cjsbs.v39i1.2349

Cey. J. Sci. (Bio. Sci.) 39 (1): 11-19, 2010

How to Cite: Hemachandra, I. et al., (2010). Distinctiveness of termite assemblages in two fragmented forest types in Hantane hills in the Kandy District of Sri Lanka. Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Sciences). 39(1), pp.11–19. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjsbs.v39i1.2349
Published on 12 Oct 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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