Natural control of arthropods, with special reference to ants (Formicidae), by fungi in the tropical high forest of Ghana.
Monthly totals of arthropods found killed by pathogenic fungi in collections from 5 X 4 quadrats in three forest types in Ghana were shown to be inversely related to exploitation of the environment. Undisturbed forests with heavy shade and minimal seasonal changes had the highest levels of disease incidence throughout the sampling year. In secondary or depleted forest, the numbers of diseased arthropods were low for most of the year with minor epizootics during the very wet months. Ants were susceptible to fungus attack, and numerous different hosts and pathogens were collected, many of them new records. Coccids were also commonly infected in all the habitats studied, as also to a lesser extent were Diptera and spiders. It is suggested that pathogenic fungi may be important factors in the natural control of arthropod populations in humid tropical forests.