Termites, microarthropods and the decomposition of senescent and fresh creosotebush (<i>Larrea tridentata</i>) leaf litter

TitleTermites, microarthropods and the decomposition of senescent and fresh creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) leaf litter
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1980
AuthorsFowler HG, Whitford WG
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Date Published1980
Call Number00075
Keywordsarticle, articles, decomposition, Larrea litter, decomposition,microarthropod, decomposition,termite, Gnathemitermes, Larrea decomposition, journal, journals, litter,Larrea decomposition, microarthropod, Larrea decomposition, termite,Larrea decomposition

Weight loss of fresh and senescent creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) leaves was studied during September and October, which is normally the peak of surface feeding by subterranean termites. Termites built galleries in 87.5 per cent of the bags of senescent litter and in 12.5 per cent of the bags of fresh litter. There was no significant weight loss attributable to termites. Senescent litter lost more weight than fresh litter but this was reversed during a period of abnormally high rainfall. It is suggested that this results from the presence of allelochemics in fresh litter and leaching of these compounds with high precipitation.