Absence of Relationship Among Termite (Insecta: Isoptera) Richness, Functional Groups and Environmental Variables in Southern Brazil

Elena Diehl, Eduardo Diehl-Fleig, Luciane Kern Junqueira

Abstract


In the temperate zones, termites play a minor ecological role, while, in the tropics, they dominate among the decomposing invertebrates, corresponding to about 10% of the total animal biomass and up to 95% of the soil insect biomass. At the same time, the tropical zones have more productive environments, lower climatic variation, greater ecological stability, and are richer in species. In this study, we evaluated termite species richness, composition, and trophic groups in 14 sites at different altitudes distributed in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil from previous published surveys. We tested whether there would be a pattern linking those three variables to altitude and bioclimatic factors. We found no significant correlation between species richness and altitude. Bioclimatic variables did not explain the differences in species composition neither in functional group. However, species number, though not statistically different, and composition varied among sampling sites. We suggest that further surveys should be conducted along with greater collection effort and number of sampled sites as to provide a better understanding of the factors affecting the termite fauna of Southern Brazil.

Ausência de Relação Entre Riqueza, Grupo Funcional e Variáveis Ambientais para Térmitas (Insecta: Isoptera) no Sul do Brasil

Resumo. Nas zonas temperadas, os térmitas têm um papel ecológico reduzido, enquanto que, nos trópicos, dominam entre os invertebrados decompositores e correspondem a cerca de 10% do total da biomassa animal e quase 95% da biomassa de insetos de solo. Ao mesmo tempo, as zonas tropicais possuem ambientes mais produtivos, menor variação climática, maior estabilidade ecológica e riqueza de espécies. No presente trabalho, avaliamos a riqueza, composição e os grupos funcionais dos térmitas de 14 localidades em diferentes altitudes no Rio Grande do Sul, sul do Brasil, a partir de dados já publicados. Testamos se existiria um padrão relacionando essas três variáveis à altitude e aos fatores bioclimáticos. Os resultados não mostraram correlação significativa entre riqueza de espécies e altitude, assim como os fatores bioclimáticos não explicaram a variação na composição de espécies e dos grupos funcionais. No entanto, o número, embora não significativo, e a composição de espécies foram diferentes entre os locais de coleta. Sugerimos a ampliação dos levantamentos, com maior esforço amostral e maior número de pontos amostrados, para identificar os fatores ambientais que influenciam a termitofauna do sul do Brasil.


Keywords


Bioclimatic variables; Biodiversity; Species composition; Trophic groups; Composição de espécies; Biodiversidade; Grupos tróficos; Variáveis bioclimáticas

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12741/ebrasilis.v8i3.491

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