Spatial segregation of four coexisting processional termites (Termitidae: Nasutitermitinae) in tropical rainforest


Correspondence: Yoko Takematsu, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Yamaguchi University, 1677-1 Yoshida, Yamaguchi 753-8515, Japan.



In Lambir Hills National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia, there are four species of processional termites that coexist: Hospitalitermes hospitalis, H. lividiceps, H. rufus and Longipeditermes longipes. This paper presents the results of our investigation on the spatial distribution of nests and the foraging activities of the four species in coexistence. The results show that there are fairly marked differences in nesting sites, as well as in foraging activities, among the four species. It is noteworthy that H. rufus inhabits only the canopy area over 20 m above ground, apparently segregated from the other three species, and that their foraging activities are limited also to tree canopies over 10 m above ground. In contrast, L. longipes nests underground and forages exclusively on the forest floor. Hospitalitermes hospitalis and H. lividiceps inhabit and forage over wide areas, from the forest floor to tree canopies. The upper parts of the tree canopy (over 10 m) are also foraging territories of the secluded H. rufus, but there were no observations of simultaneous foraging of the three Hospitalitermes species in the same canopy areas.