The distribution and abundance of large termite mounds in Uganda.

Published online
01 Jan 1977
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Pomeroy, D. E.

Publication language
Africa South of Sahara & Uganda


Rapid estimates of termite mounds exceeding 1 m in height were made by roadside counts covering most of Uganda. The error in the counts was estimated at about 3% and the counts reflected the local abundance of mounds. The density of mounds in most parts of Uganda is 1-4/ha, only a small proportion of the country having more. The total quantities of soil incorporated in the mounds were comparatively small, being equivalent to a layer less than 1 mm thick over most of the country. Mounds were absent from higher ground, the upper limits corresponding to a mean minimum temperature of 9 deg C for Macrotermes subhyalinus and 12 deg C for M. bellicosus. There were several areas where M. subhyalinus occurred alone, but few were occupied exclusively by M. bellicosus. In most places both were present but it was usual for one to be dominant. The shape of the mounds varies considerably, partly in response to climate. For example, 'turrets' on M. bellicosus mounds are more common where the mean maximum temperature exceeds 28 deg C and the ratio precipitation/evaporation is 0.6 or less. Mound shape in Uganda was not correlated with the sandiness of the soil.

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