ABUNDANCE AND DISTRIBUTION OF ADULT AND JUVENILE STAGES OF SOIL MICROARTHROPODS ALONG THE WESTERN BANK OF RIVER BENUE IN ADAMAWA STATE NORTH-EASTERN NIGERIA

H. L. Njila, G. S. Mwansat, G. N. Imandeh, I. A. Onyimba

Abstract


Adult and Juvenile stages of microarthropods are important pests of agricultural crops.  Thus, this study was aimed at investigating their abundance and distribution in relation to habitat integrity and season along the bank of River Benue in Adamawa State, North-eastern Nigeria. Soil was collected from eighteen villages situated along the river bank between 2008- 2010. Samples were taken from 0-10cm soil depth from three habitat types using a soil corer of diameter 8.5cm. The dry behavioural extraction method using Berlese-Tullgren funnel extractor was used to extract microarthropods from soil and litters. A total of 7,632 microarthropod individuals distributed in 4 classes, 20 orders, 63 families, 70 genera and 26 species were extracted from 540 soil samples. Habitat type had a significant effect (Kruskall-wallis test, df = 2, χ2 = 10.40, P = 0.001) on mean abundance of adult and juvenile stages of microarthropods. The Abundance of adults and juveniles were significantly lower with increasing habitat disturbances, thereby confirming the negative effect of the several anthropogenic activities along the western bank on natural selection. There was also a significant difference (One-way ANOVA for dry season: F1,16 = 17.14, P = 0.05; One-way ANOVA for wet season: F1,17 = 19.42, P = 0.05) in the abundance of adult and juvenile stages of microarthropods during the dry and wet seasons. The highest abundance observed only in the natural uncultivated soil underscores the importance of the western bank of river Benue in Adamawa state for conservation and calls for better protection and management.

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