|Title||Gnathamitermes tubiformans (Isoptera: Termitidae), especie clave en el Desierto Chihuahuense|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1987|
|Authors||MacKay WP, Zak J.C, Silva S, Whitford WG|
|Journal||Folia Entomológica Mexicana|
|Keywords||article, articles, cattle dung, decomposition, decomposition, SEE <TERMITE>, Isoptera, SEE <termite>, journal, journals, nitrogen,termites, termite,decomposition, termite,water infiltration, water infiltration, termites|
(In Spanish with English abstract)
We demonstrate the importance of subterranean termites, especially Gnathamitermes tubiformans (Buckley), as a keystone species in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. They are the most important organism in the decomposition of organic matter, including cattle feces, wood and leaf litter. They are also important in the nitrogen cycle because they consume organic matter, fix atmospheric nitrogen, produce galleries rich in nitrogen and are prey for various predators. Their tunnels also increase the infiltration of water. Soil termites are sometimes considered pests due to competition with cattle for grass. We show that soil termites are essential in such areas because they open the soil for water infiltration and are essentially the only organisms that attack the cattle feces.