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Cultural significance of termites in sub-Saharan Africa

Overview of attention for article published in Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, January 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (81st percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (75th percentile)

Mentioned by

twitter
11 tweeters
video
1 video uploader

Citations

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20 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
104 Mendeley
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Title
Cultural significance of termites in sub-Saharan Africa
Published in
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, January 2017
DOI 10.1186/s13002-017-0137-z
Pubmed ID
Authors

Arnold van Huis

Abstract

The number of termite species in the world is more than 2500, and Africa with more than 1000 species has the richest intercontinental diversity. The family Termitidae contains builders of great mounds up to 5 m high. Colonies are composed of casts: a queen, a king, soldiers and workers. Some species of termite cultivate specialised fungi to digest cellulose. Termites constitute 10% of all animal biomass in the tropics. The purpose of the study was to make an overview of how termites are utilized, perceived and experienced in daily life across sub-Saharan Africa. Ethno-entomological information on termites (Isoptera) in sub-Saharan Africa was collected by: (1) interviews with more than 300 people from about 120 ethnic groups from 27 countries in the region; (2) library studies in Africa, London, Paris and Leiden. Vernacular names relate to mounds, insects as food, the swarming, and the behaviour of termites. Swarming reproductive, soldiers and queens are collected as food. There are many different ways to harvest them. Termites can also be used as feed for poultry or as bait to catch birds and fish. The mushrooms that grow each year from the fungus gardens on the termite mounds are eaten. The soldiers, the fungus gardens and the soil of termite mounds are used for multiple medicinal purposes. Mounds and soil of termites have numerous functions: for geochemical prospecting, making bricks, plastering houses, making pots, and for storage. Termite soil is often used as fertilizer. The act of eating soil (geophagy) among women, especially those that are pregnant, is practised all over Africa. The mounds can serve as burying places and are often associated with the spiritual world, especially containing the spirits of ancestors. Termites also play a role as oracle, in superstitious beliefs, in art and literature. The following characteristics make termites so appealing: the dominance in the landscape, the social organization, the destructive power, and the provision of food. The study shows that termites play a major role in peoples' lives, in physical as well as spiritual aspects.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 11 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 104 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Italy 1 <1%
Unknown 103 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 24 23%
Student > Master 19 18%
Student > Bachelor 11 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 9 9%
Researcher 7 7%
Other 22 21%
Unknown 12 12%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 40 38%
Environmental Science 8 8%
Nursing and Health Professions 5 5%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 5 5%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 5 5%
Other 21 20%
Unknown 20 19%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 9. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 08 June 2019.
All research outputs
#2,133,640
of 14,265,055 outputs
Outputs from Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
#87
of 608 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#65,849
of 348,960 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
#2
of 8 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 14,265,055 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 85th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 608 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 4.5. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 348,960 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 81% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 8 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than 6 of them.