Termite assemblages (Blattaria, Isoptera) in two montane forest (Brejo de Altitude) areas in northeastern Brazil

Abstract: Wet enclaves of montane forests in Caatinga domain, locally known as "Brejos de Altitude", are associated with plateau at altitudes greater than 500 m a.s.l. and to orographic rainfall. Termite assemblage structures were studied in two areas of montane forest (Brejo de Altitude) located in the municipalities of Bezerros and São Vicente Ferrer, Pernambuco State, Brazil. Sampling was performed in 65 x 2 m transects, totaling 300 m2/per area; the densities of nests in each area were estimated using six 1300 m2 plots. A total of 35 morphospecies were recorded that belonged to 21 genera and three families, with 133 encounters. The soil-feeders feeding group predominated, followed by wood-feeders species. A total of five species constructing conspicuous nest were recorded in the two areas. The mean density of active conspicuous nests was 2.6 ± 6.3 nests/ha (mean ± sd) in Bezerros, and 21.8 ± 21.4 nests/ha in São Vicente Ferrer. Termite richness in the study areas were within the amplitude ranges recorded in other montane forests. Thus, the results presented here, combined with data from literature, reinforce need additional studies of the termite fauna in montane forest areas, once the "Brejos" are currently under high ecological pressure and their preservation is urgent.