Food Preference of the Termite, Macrotermes nigeriensis, in Laboratory Choice Tests and an Alley Cropping Field


ABSTRACT: Laboratory food choice tests were conducted to determine the level of attack and the
extent of damage caused by Macrotermes nigeriensis Sjostedt. (=bellicosus Smeathman) (Isoptera: Termitidae) to the common food plants in cassava-maize mixtures and in the hedgerows in alley cropping. Test plants included cassava, Manihot esculenta Crantz, maize, Zea mays L., yam, Dioscorea rotundata Poir,
‘Egusi’ melon, Citrullus lanatus L., hedgerow species, namely: Leucaena leucocephala L., Gliricidia sepium L. and Cassia siamea L., and the siam weed
Chromolaena odorata L. Macrotermes nigeriensis attacked all the cuttings, actual consumption was observed on maize stems and roots, cassava stems, yam tuber sets and the stems of hedgerow species L. leucocephala and G. sepium, with a higher consumption of maize cuttings. Roots of cassava, melon, siam weed and Cassia were not consumed. In an alley cropping field of cassava-maize with the hedgerow species above, attack was also observed on all test plants, with a higher preference for maize as observed in the laboratory trials.

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