Diversity and distribution of ground-dwelling and arboreal termites in a Panamanian rainforest

Neotermes_ibisca3IBISCA social-insect team: Alain Dejean & Jerôme Orivel (Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, Evolution & Diversité Biologique), Bruno Corbara (Université Blaise-pascal, LAPSCO, Clermont-Ferrand), Yves Roisin (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Maurice Leponce.

Carried out with the help of the Mary V. Walcott Endowment Trust.

The termite collection was based on visual search which is the most efficient method for this taxon. Additional specimens were collected by other sampling protocols run simultaneously, such as Berlese, Winkler, pitfalls, light traps, flight interception traps ... ran simultaneoulsy by other sampling programs.

Side project

  • Development of a global database management system for all IBISCA data (Leponce & Basset)
  • Development of a picture database of termites from Panama
ibisca_protocol_termites
We collected in various sites of San Lorenzo forest to compare the diversity of arboreal and ground-dwelling termites. Direct access to arboreal termite colonies was made possible thanks to the presence on site of the Solvin-Bretzel canopy raft, of the canopy bubble, of the Ikos and of Fort Sherman canopy crane. Professional climbers were also of great help to collect material.
Dead branches in the canopy were searched for termites
Dead branches in the canopy were searched for termites.
Nasutitermes were among the most frequent arboreal species
Nasutitermes were among the most frequent arboreal species.
All dead wood was systematically searched for termites
All dead wood was systematically searched for termites.
Flight interception traps and light traps were useful to collect alates
Flight interception traps and light traps were useful to collect alates.

A variant of the standardized protocol for collecting termites (Jones & Eggleton 2000, Roisin & Leponce 2004) was used at ground level. It consists in 400 m long transects, divided in 40 successive quadrats of 5m².

Soldierless Apicotermitinae galleries were found in soil scrapes
Soldierless Apicotermitinae galleries were found in soil scrapes.
Anoplotermes parvus nest
Anoplotermes parvus nest.
anoplo_parvus_queen
Anoplotermes parvus queen.

References

Jones D. T. & Eggleton P. 2000. Sampling termite assemblages in tropical forests: testing a rapid biodiversity assessment protocol. J. Appl. Ecol. 37, 191-203.

Roisin, Y. & Leponce, M. 2004. Characterizing termite assemblages in fragmented forests: a test case in the Argentinian Chaco. Austral Ecology, 29:637-646. download pdf document (2290KB)