Checklist

A checklist of the termites of Kruger National Park, South Africa

Brianna M. Lind, Andrew B. Davies
Koedoe | Vol 61, No 1 | a1531 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v61i1.1531 | © 2019 Brianna M. Lind, Andrew B. Davies | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 March 2018 | Published: 09 April 2019

About the author(s)

Brianna M. Lind, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, New Mexico State University, New Mexico, United States
Andrew B. Davies, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, California, United States


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Abstract

The protection of biodiversity is critical to ecosystem function and is a primary management goal for conservation areas globally. Maintaining a current inventory of known diversity is a central component of achieving this goal and serves as an essential starting point for future research endeavours. Since the first published survey of termites in South Africa’s Kruger National Park (KNP) over 55 years ago, our understanding of termite diversity has expanded sufficiently to merit an update and formal checklist. Here we revise the inventory of termite diversity in KNP and summarise the taxonomic and functional diversity of termites in the park. A thorough review of recent termite research in KNP added 6 new genera and 13 species to what was found in Coaton’s original survey, with one genus, Anenteotermes, recorded for the first time in southern Africa. Based on the updated species checklist, the majority of genera in the park belong to Feeding Group II (39%) and the Termitidae family (75%).

Conservation implications: In savannas, termites play crucial roles in nutrient cycling, water redistribution and plant dynamics. Systematically cataloguing termite diversity and assemblage composition in the park provides an essential baseline for scientific research, aids biodiversity conservation efforts and encourages scientists and managers to consider termites in ecosystem functioning and management. Having more detailed descriptions of genera, species and feeding groups allows for more tangible, ecologically relevant attributions of termite influence, facilitates enhanced inquiry and allows for more realistic quantification of termite roles in key ecosystem processes.


Keywords

termite; Kruger National Park; feeding groups; diversity; savanna

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