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Title: Size of Food Resource Determines Brood Placement in Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera: Rhimtermitidae)

Author: Lenzl, Michael; Kara, Bradford; Mauldin, Joe K.; Evans, Theodore A.; Etheridge, Joel L.; Abbey, Hilda M.;

Date: 2000

Source: Paper prepared for the Termite Research Symposium in honor and remembrance of Dr. Jeffrey P. La Fage.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Most species of subterranean termite house and care for larvae in specialised chambers or complex nurseries. In addition to these chambers, the genus Reticulitermes also keeps larvae at sites where foragers are feeding, a trait more commonly found in damp wood and dry wood termites. This phenomenon of holding larvae at foraging sites is quite well known among researchers who work with Reticditermes, yet it has not been investigated to any extent. Consequently, the underlying causes of larvae placement at foraging sites are only poorly understood. During assessments of the resistance of materials to Reticditermes flavipes attack at the Harrison Experimental Forest, near Saucier, Mississippi, USA, signify numbers of lst and 2nd stage larvae were often found in Pinus spp bait wood stakes. This paper describes the results from the first of a series of ongoing experiments to test whether food resources affected termite presence and larval placement. The experiment used a variable number of pine stakes in eight plots (four in stands of pine, four in grassy forest clearings) where termites were offered a choice of food resources of diierent size (bundles of 1 to 4 pine stakes of equal size). The number of larvae recorded from feeding sites was a close reflection of the number of workers a&acted to a given food source. The more substantial and suitable a food source is, the more foragers will visit it, and in turn the more likely that they will transport larvae and eggs to these feeding sites.

Keywords: subterranean termites, reproductive biology, castes, larvae, workers, soldiers

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Lenzl, Michael; Kara, Bradford; Mauldin, Joe K.; Evans, Theodore A.; Etheridge, Joel L.; Abbey, Hilda M. 2000. Size of Food Resource Determines Brood Placement in Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera: Rhimtermitidae). Paper prepared for the Termite Research Symposium in honor and remembrance of Dr. Jeffrey P. La Fage.

 


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