Soil Arthropods: An Unsung Heroes of Soil Fertility

Kishore SM *

Department of Agricultural Entomology, Keladi Shivappa Nayaka University Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga, Karnataka, India.

Priyadharshini TB

Department of Soil Science, Keladi Shivappa Nayaka University Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga, Karnataka, India.

K. Sowmya

Department of Agricultural Entomology, College of Agriculture, Rajendranagar, PJTSAU, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Soils are crucial elements of ecosystems, and their fertility is maintained mainly by the actions of their living organisms. The fertility of soil depends on its ability to provide plants with vital nutrients needed for their growth and reproduction. Additionally, soil acts as a physical medium that facilitates root growth and respiration while also maintaining its structural integrity against erosive forces. Arthropods play a significant role in enhancing the decomposition of plant litter in two ways. Firstly, they directly turn it into their tissues. Secondly, they indirectly alter it physically and chemically, turning it into substrates that can further be decomposed. Termites have higher assimilation efficiencies compared to other soil arthropods, which means they can convert a greater proportion of ingested litter into biomass directly. On the other hand, collembola, oribatid, myriapods, and Isopoda contribute to nutrient cycling indirectly as secondary decomposers. They condition litter for further breakdown by the microflora through comminution and passage through the gut. Arthropods, such as insects, can create tunnels and burrows in soil, which help to allow air and water to penetrate deeper into the soil. These tunnels also help to mix organic materials into the upper layers of soil. In addition, arthropod faeces serve as the starting point for the creation of soil aggregates that are necessary for maintaining the soil structure and integrity. Soil arthropods play a crucial role in the formation of humus, which helps to retain water and nutrients in the soil. In addition, they provide important ecosystem services, including provisional, supporting, and regulating services. Unfortunately, these tiny creatures' contributions to the environment are often undervalued and neglected.

Keywords: Collembola, decomposition, humus, microflora, organic matter, soil structure

How to Cite

Kishore SM, Priyadharshini TB, & Sowmya , K. (2024). Soil Arthropods: An Unsung Heroes of Soil Fertility. Journal of Advances in Biology & Biotechnology, 27(6), 118–126.


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