An analysis of termite faunae in Malayan rainforests.
Community analyses of termite faunas of primary rain forests in Peninsular Malaysia revealed that forest and soil variables were the only discernible environmental determinants of termite community structure. At the guild level, other environmental variables were correlated with individual guild frequencies. The number of termite guilds was highly correlated with termite species richness and density, suggesting that termite species packing may depend on niche availability. Termite genera distinguished by pleisiomorphic characters, and termite genera with centres of diversity outside South-East Asia, predominated in forests and soils of lower productivity, as well as in communities low in termite species diversity. These trends fit well with E.O. Wilson's (1959, 1961) biographic theory of taxon cycles. In primary forests, termite pest species are more frequent in outlying forest habitats or in communities with low termite species richness.