Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol.08, Issue 03, 2002; Page No.(223-226)

FOOD PREFERENCE AND BREAKDOWN OF CITRUS LIMONIA AND PUNICA GRANATUM DRY LEAVES BY ARMADILLO OFFICINALIS DUMERIL, 1816 AND PARCELLIO SCABER LATREILLE, 1804 (ISOPODA, ONISCIDEA) IN BENGHAZI, LIBYA

G. Achuthan Nair, Suaad All Bennouri, Nouara El-Azirg El-Ammaril and Kanchan Chowdhury

Abstract

Armadillo officinalis and Procellio scober are the common woodlic found in the farms and woodlands of Benghazi, Libya. A food preference test on the dry leaves of Citrus limonia, Punica granatum and Olea europaea showed that these animals were selective for food items when given a choice and a Friedman analysis of variance by ranks revealed that the frequencies of occurrence of these woodlice on different food items were significantly different (X' = 11.56 for A. officinalis; 9.56 for P. scober, P < 0.05). Studies conducted for 28 dasys on the breakdown of C. limonia and P. grantum dry leaves by A. officinalis and P. scaber either separately or in combination of both species, revealed that higher breakdown of both leaves occurred in the presence of P. scober. Faunal effects of both species on the breakdown of leaves were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than those of no faunal treatment. The breakdown of dry leaves of Punica granatum by both species of woodlice were higher when compared with the same of C. limonia.

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