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Patterns of taxonomic and functional diversity of termites along a tropical elevational gradient

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  • Cássio A. Nunes
  • André V. Quintino
  • Reginaldo Constantino
  • Daniel Negreiros
  • Ronaldo Reis Júnior
  • Geraldo Wilson Fernandes
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2017
Issue number2
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)186-194
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Externally publishedYes


Patterns of termite richness along elevation gradients may be related to different responses by termite functional groups to changes in environmental conditions. We investigated the distribution of termite species richness along an elevational gradient of cerrado and rupestrian grasslands in the Espinhaço Mountain Range, in Brazil. Fifty termite species were recorded, with the family Termitidae being dominant; 16 species are endemic to open areas of cerrado and 1 species, Cortaritermes rizzinii, is endemic and restricted to mountaintop grassland habitats. Termite richness declined with increasing elevation, with the main factors associated with the reduction being climactic (air temperature, air and soil humidity, and radiation) and vegetation variables. Different termite communities were found along the elevational gradient, which were also strongly influenced by changes in climate and vegetation. On the other hand, the same functional groups were present at the different elevations, although represented by different species.