oa South African Journal of Wildlife Research - 24-month delayed open access - The association between dung middens of the blesbok (Damaliscus dorcas phillipsi Harper) and mounds of the harvester temtite (Trinervitermes trinervoides Sjostedt)

Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2410-7220
  • E-ISSN: 2410-8200



In the Rhenosterpoort Nature Reserve, Transvaal, blesbok dung middens were often associated with the remains of Trinervitermes trinervoides mounds. Strip transects walked in open grassland yielded blesbok midden densities of between 3,3 and 15,6 ha-l, while Trinervitermes mound densities were 37,1 ha-1� To determine the relationship between the spacing of mounds and middens individual distances were measured. The similarity of mound-mound (8,0 m) and mound-midden (7,5 m) distances indicated that middens occurred where we might expect to find a termite mound in relation to its neighbours. The formation of middens and natural water holes at the sites of old termite mounds is discussed. It is suggested that termite mounds provide a focus of mammal activity by virtue of their association with peripheral vegetation of high quality and the visibility afforded by patches of bare ground for behavioural and anti-predator purposes. Other vertebrates are reported to use blesbok middens for defaecation.

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