Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (864 KB)

Title: Evidence of cue synergism in termite corpse response behavior

Author: Ulyshen, Michael D.; Shelton, Thomas G.;

Date: 2012

Source: Naturwissenschaften The Science of Nature 99(2):89-93

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Subterranean termites of the genus Reticulitermes are known to build walls and tubes and move considerable amounts of soil into wood but the causes of this behavior remain largely unexplored. In laboratory assays, we tested the hypothesis that Reticulitermes virginicus (Banks) would carry more sand into wooden blocks containing corpses compared to corpse-free controls. We further predicted that the corpses of predatory ants would elicit a stronger response than those of a benign beetle species or nestmates. As hypothesized, significantly more sand was carried into blocks containing corpses and this material was typically used to build partitions separating the dead from the rest of the colony. Contrary to expectations, however, this behavior did not vary among corpse types. We then tested the hypothesis that oleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid released during arthropod decay and used by ants and other arthropod taxa in corpse recognition, would induce a similar building response in R. virginicus. To additionally determine the role of foreign objects in giving rise to this behavior, the experiment was carried out with and without imitation corpses (i.e., small glass beads). As predicted, oleic acid induced building (a tenfold increase) but only when applied to beads, suggesting strong synergism between tactile and chemical cues. Oleic acid also significantly reduced the amount of wood consumed by R. virginicus and may possess useful repellent properties.

Keywords: Chemical ecology, Burial, Defense, Necromone, Necrophoresis

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Ulyshen, Michael D.; Shelton, Thomas G. 2012. Evidence of cue synergism in termite corpse response behavior. Naturwissenschaften The Science of Nature 99(2):89-93.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.