Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 229–235 | Cite as

Interactions between wood-inhabiting fungi and termites: a meta-analytical review

  • Arleu Barbosa Viana-Junior
  • Mariana Osório Côrtes
  • Tatiana Garabini Cornelissen
  • Frederico de Siqueira Neves
Original Paper


The foraging behavior and survivorship of termites are modified by the presence of wood-inhabiting fungi. Nonetheless, it is not clear if these interactions are beneficial, negative, or neutral for termites. We conducted a meta-analytical review to determine if the presence of wood-inhabiting fungi affects the foraging behavior and survivorship of termites. Overall, the presence of wood-inhabiting fungi in a resource used by termites was positive, increasing resource consumption by 120%, and aggregation behavior by 81%. The presence of fungi also increased termite trail-following by approximately 200% and increased survival by 136%. The results varied, however, according to the type of fungi evaluated. Decay fungi and sap-stain fungi elicited positive responses in termites, whereas molds did not affect the consumption of cellulose by termites. Amongst the decay fungi group, white-rot fungi caused the strongest and most positive response in all termite behaviors evaluated, although brown-rot fungi is known to be preferred by termites. The results of our study, therefore, suggest that wood-inhabiting fungi are potential facilitators of the foraging behavior and survivorship of termites. These results have great implications for termite biocontrol, as well as for knowledge of the ecological aspects of termite–fungi interactions.


Decay fungi Meta-analysis Sap-stain fungi Subterranean termites Wood-rot fungi 



We thank Marina Beirão, Gabriela Duarte, Rony Peterson, Lisiex Fuzessy, Yana Reis, Ricardo Solar, Lucas Paolucci, and Luiz Eduardo Macedo-Reis for discussions, suggestions and for insightful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. We extend special thanks to Hans Kelstrup and Flavio Camarota for comments on the text and English review. This work was supported by the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and Graduation Program in Ecology, Conservation and Wildlife Management (ECMVS—UFMG).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 14 kb)
11829_2017_9570_MOESM2_ESM.xls (106 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLS 105 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Ecologia de Insetos, Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia, Conservação e Manejo da Vida Silvestre, Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciências NaturaisUniversidade Federal de São João Del-ReiSão João Del ReiBrazil

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