oa Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa - A study of the food eaten by a field population of the Harvester termite, Hodotermes mossambicus (Hagen) and its relation to population density



A crash in a population of Hodotermes mossambicus (Hagen) was observed after a prolonged drought during 1966. Virtually no recovery in numbers has taken place since that time. The crash was probably caused by lack of moisture and/or food although the possible effect of natural enemies was not investigated and therefore could not be ruled out entirely. The quantity of food carried underground by the termites as well as counts of the number of foraging holes and soil dumps were taken as indices of the size of the population. About one ton of dry plant material per morgen was produced on the study area per year. Differences in food production could not be held responsible for the population changes of the termites.


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