Sociobiology: Volume 46, Number 1, 2005

Feature Articles:


Patterns in the Relative Incidence of Subterranean Termite Species Infesting Buildings in Peninsular Malaysia

By Laurence G. Kirton & M. Azmi

ABSTRACT


The relative incidence of different termite (Isoptera) species entering buildings in Peninsular Malaysia is reported based on a sample of 81 building infestations, primarily in the vicinity of the capital city. Buildings were broadly categorized as occurring in urban or semi-urban areas based on the density of buildings and existence of vegetation in the area. Termites of the genus Coptotermes accounted for all of the infestations in urban areas and 64% of infestations in semi-urban areas. The Asian Subterranean Termite, Coptotermes gestroi, accounted for 85% of all building infestations in urban areas, while in semi-urban areas, it accounted for 40% of all infestations and 63% of infestations by Coptotermes. It also comprised a large proportion (88%) of a preliminary sample of 17 building infestations from Singapore. Coptotermes kalshoveni and C. curvignathus were found to occasionally infest buildings in Peninsular Malaysia, but the relative incidence of infestations of these species is shown to have decreased over the last two decades, in comparison to the relative incidence of C. gestroi. Two other species of Coptotermes occurring in Peninsular Malaysia, C. sepangensis and C. travians, were not encountered in buildings. Other termites found to infest buildings in Peninsular Malaysia or Singapore were Schedorhinotermes spp., Globitermes sulphureus, Microcerotermes dubius, Macrotermes gilvus, Odontotermes spp., Microtermes pakistanicus and Nasutitermes spp. Each occurred only rarely in buildings, although together they comprised over a third (36%) of infestations in semi-urban areas in Peninsular Malaysia. The ability of the different termite species to colonize the urban environment and enter buildings is compared. Their points of entry into buildings and the types of wooden structures damaged are discussed.

KEY WORDS: subterranean termite, infestation, Malaysia.

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Toxicity of Cipadessa fruticosa to the Leaf-Cutting Ants Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Their Symbiotic Fungus

By Ana C. Leite, Cintia G. Oliveira, Marizete P. Godoy, Fabiana C. Bueno, M. de Fátima S. dos S. de Oliveira, Moacir R. Forim, João B. Fernandes, Paulo C. Vieira, M. Fátima das G.F. da Silva, Odair C. Bueno, Fernando C. Pagnocca, M. José A. Hebling, & Maurício Bacci Jr.

ABSTRACT


Crude extracts from fruits, branches and leaves of Cipadessa fruticosa were assayed on Atta sexdens rubropilosa workers and their symbiotic fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. The results showed that the majority of the extract tested reduced significantly (p < 0.05) the survival of the workers comparable to the neem oil. In addition, the dichloromethane extract from fruits and the hexane extract from branches of C. fruticosa inhibited in 80% the development of the symbiotic fungus. The hexane and dichloromethane extracts from fruits of C. fruticosa were fractionated and their fractions were subjected to new bioassays. Several fractions showed relevant activity on ants, but none of them inhibited significantly the fungal growth. The possibility of controlling leaf-cutting ants in the future using C. fruticosa is discussed.

KEY WORDS: leaf-cutting ants, Cipadessa fruticosa, Meliaceae, antifungal activity, Atta sexdens rubropilosa, Leucoagaricus gongylophorus.

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Behavioral Repertory of the Weaver Ant Camponotus (Myrmobrachys) senex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

By Jean Carlos Santos, Marcela Yamamoto, Flávio Rodrigues Oliveira, & Kleber Del-Claro

ABSTRACT


Weaver ants are one of the most remarkable examples of social cooperation in nature. However, there are few studies to date on the particular aspects of their social behavior. In this study, we describe the behavioral repertory of Camponotus (Myrmobrachys) senex, a Neotropical weaver ant. A colony collected in the field was transferred to the laboratory for elaboration of an ethogram. Part of the colony: 20 wingless queens, 176 workers, 7 pupae, 30 larvae and 667 eggs, was conditioned in test tubes and put into two plastic boxes. One box was designated as nesting area and the other as foraging area. Both boxes were connected to each other. The ethogram was based on 20 hours of qualitative observations, followed by 50 hours of quantitative behavioral observations, “all occurrence sample” method (sensu Altmann 1974). We identified 58 different behaviors (30,651 registers), distributed in 10 behavioral categories. The most frequent categories were: immobility (0.4031%), grooming (0.1393%), exploration (0.1306%) and brood care (0.1035%). Immobility was the most frequent category in all castes and we suggest that immobility might be an energy saving strategy in C. senex. Workers displayed a more diversified behavioral repertoire with 57 different acts whereas, queens displayed 34 different acts. The use of male larvae by weaving nests can suggest an additional function for males, in addition to their usual sexual role. It is hoped that new taxonomic and behavioral studies will be carried out in order to obtain a better understanding of labor division in C. senex. Our results provide baseline data for future comparisons about evolutionary patterns in nest building behavior in ants as well as the study of the genus Camponotus as a whole.

KEY WORDS: ethogram, Formicinae, behavioral ecology, social behavior.

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Myrmica salina (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) as a Host of Maculinea alcon (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

By András Tartally

ABSTRACT


Numerous overwintered Maculinea alcon (Denis & Schiffermüller 1775) larvae and a single pupa were found in nests of Myrmica salina Ruzsky 1905 in the Szatmár lowland, NE Hungary. This ant species appears to be the primary host of M. alcon at this site. M. salina has previously been recorded as a host of Maculinea teleius (Bergsträsser 1779) at this, and one other site. Nearby, other local populations of M. alcon use Myrmica scabrinodis Nylander 1846 as a host, so it appears that this particular M. alcon population has become locally adapted to use M. salina as a host ant because of the secondary salinization of this site.

KEY WORDS: Myrmica salina, Maculinea alcon, host specificity, myrmecophily, new host species, local adaptation, Hungary.

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A Case Study of Incisitermes minor (Isoptera: Kalotermitidae) Infestation in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan

By Yuliati Indrayani, Tsuyoshi Yoshimura, Yoshihisa Fujii, Yoshiyuki Yanase, Yuko Fujiwara, Akio Adachi, Seima Kawaguchi, Masahiro Miura, & Yuji Imamura

ABSTRACT


A survey on infestation by Incisitermes minor (Hagen) in a town in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, was conducted in 19 buildings. Approximately 90% of the surveyed buildings were infested by I. minor. The infested buildings were located in one area within a 5-15 m distance of each other. The main source of multiple infestations in this area appeared to be natural spread via alate flight. Roofing materials such as rafters, eaves, gables, boards, and beams were the most susceptible parts. Interior materials such as pillars, window and door frames, thresholds, lintels, floor boards, and tatami, and exterior materials such as wall boards, beams, braces, window frames, and thresholds were the second-most frequently attacked parts.

KEY WORDS: termite infestation, dry-wood termite, Incisitermes minor.

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Toxicity of Granular Ant Bait Formulations Against Cockroaches (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae and Blattidae)

By Arthur G. Appel, Marla J. Eva, & Steven R. Sims

ABSTRACT


The toxicity of granular ant bait formulations containing abamectin B1, orthoboric acid, or propoxur was evaluated in a series of laboratory experiments against American, Periplaneta americana (L.), and German, Blattella germanica (L.), cockroaches. LT50 values for American cockroaches ranged from < 1 d for the 2% propoxur formulation (cockroaches were either fed or starved for 24 h before treatment) to > 22 d for the Advance® Carpenter Ant Bait formulation (cockroaches were starved for 24 h before treatment and presented alternative food together with the bait). For German cockroaches, LT50 values ranged from < 1 d for the 2% propoxur formulation to 5.33 d for the 5.0% orthoboric acid Niban® formulation. In these tests, cockroaches had access to food and water 24 h before treatment, but were not provided with alternative food during testing. American cockroaches starved prior to the experiment and provided no alternative food had significantly lower LT50 values in all treatments, with the exception of the Advance Granular Ant bait formulation compared, with cockroaches provided alternative food. In contrast, 24 h starvation reduced the LT50 values of 100% of the slow-acting bait formulations for German cockroaches deprived of alternative food. Our results demonstrated that design of a toxicity experiment may affect the LT50 values of a particular bait formulation. Granular ant baits are clearly toxic to American and German cockroaches and may provide control of these pests in multi-species infestations.

KEY WORDS: Periplaneta americana, Blattella germanica, insecticidal baits.

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Invasive interactions of Monomorium minimum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) infected with Thelohania solenopsae (Microsporida: Thelohaniidae) in the Laboratory

By Molly E. Keck, Roger E. Gold, & S. Bradleigh Vinson

ABSTRACT


Thelohania solenopsae Knell, Alan, and Hazard is an internal microsporidian that parasitizes the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. This experiment studied the invasive interactions between the native United States ant, Monomorium minimum (Buckley), and S. invicta colonies infected with T. solenopsae and S. invicta colonies free of parasites. This study utilized S. invicta colonies of 100, 300, 600, 800, and 1000 workers to determine the ability of 1000 M. minimum workers to invade each S. invicta colony size. There was a significant difference in the time for M. minimum to invade S. invicta colonies of 1000 workers when comparing S. invicta colonies infected with T. solenopsae to S. invicta colonies that were uninfected. It was also determined that colony size of healthy S. invicta colonies does affect the ability of M. minimum to invade S. invicta, in which smaller S. invicta colonies are invaded significantly sooner than larger colonies. However, S. invicta colony size does not affect the ability of M. minimum to invade T. solenopsae infected S. invicta colonies. It was therefore concluded that S. invicta colonies infected with T. solenopsae were not able to defend their colony or prevent competing ants from invading as well as uninfected S. invicta colonies. This study also demonstrated that M. minimum was the more invasive species when compared to S. invicta.

KEY WORDS: Microsporida, Solenopsis invicta, Monomorium minimum.

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The Caste System of Coptotermes gestroi (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

By Raquel Cristina Barsotti & Ana Maria Costa-Leonardo

ABSTRACT


Coptotermes gestroi is an oriental species introduced to Brazil and considered, in the São Paulo State area, one of the most economically important pests. Although there are a few works concerning the basic biology of this species, its post-embryonic development has been poorly studied. The aim of the present research was to study the post-embryonic development of C. gestroi for a better knowledge of the caste system in this termite. The post-embryonic development of C. gestroi starts with two “larval” instars of whitish appearance and different sizes. A separation of the neutral and imaginal developmental pathways occurs following the second “larval” instar. The second-instar “larva” originates alates after six molts. The worker caste presents five instars and also develops from the second “larval” instar. Soldiers develop from younger workers in laboratory colonies and from older workers in field colonies.

KEY WORDS: Coptotermes gestroi, development, castes, termite, morphology.

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Congruence of Data from Different Trapping Periods of Ant Pitfall Catches (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

By Florian M. Steiner, Birgit C. Schlick-Steiner, Karl Moder, Alexander Bruckner, & Erhard Christian

ABSTRACT


Ants are prominent study organisms in basic and applied ecology. Pitfall traps are among the most widely used methods for arthropod density assessment. We appraised the congruence of data from two periods of pitfall trapping for the study of ant assemblages in dry grassland. Spearman rank correlations and non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination plots of the Bray-Curtis similarity index suggested that pitfalls deliver a repeatable picture of ant assemblages irrespective of habitat management and sampling plot shape, provided that a sufficient number of traps are used. Among density statistics, scaled abundance performed most convincingly.

KEY WORDS: repeatability, community ecology, method, pitfall traps, quantification, Bray-Curtis similarity index, rank correlation, Formicidae.

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Use of Volcanic Debris as Physical Barrier Against the Philippine Milk Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

By Menandro N. Acda & Heherson B. Ong

ABSTRACT


Workers of the Philippine milk termite (Coptotermes vastator Light) were tested for their abilities to tunnel and penetrate barriers consisting of uniform and mixed particles of lahar from Mt. Pinatubo. Particle diameter in the range of 1.18 to 2.36 mm prevented C. vastator from penetrating the lahar barrier. Repellency tests showed that lahar particles were neither repellent nor toxic to C. vastator. When several sizes in the diameter range 1.18 – 2.36 were uniformly mixed, the resultant barrier effectively prevented penetration of the termites. Field evaluations using mixed particle sizes 1.18 – 2.36 mm were also effective in preventing tunneling of field colonies of C. vastator.

KEY WORDS: lahar, physical barrier, Coptotermes vastator, subterranean termite.

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Changes in the Ratios of Four Cuticular Hydrocarbons in Formosan Subterranean Termite Workers (Coptotermes formosanus) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) Due to Diet

By M. Guadalupe Rojas, C. Werle, N. Cottrell, & J.A. Morales-Ramos

ABSTRACT


Colonies of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki were located and collected from eight sites in Mississippi and Louisiana from January through July 2004 using two different collection methods. Quantitative and qualitative assessments were made of the cuticular hydrocarbons extracted from samples of these termites as they were collected from the field and again after being established as lab colonies using GC/MS. The most abundant fatty acid detected was oleic, followed by stearic, palmitic, and palmitoleic acids. Results of this analysis indicate that diet contributes to variability in the ratios of fatty acids in termite workers, and thus may affect recognition and agonistic behavior between termites.

KEY WORDS: Formosan subterranean termite, cuticular hydrocarbons, diet, changes.

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Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) Frontal Gland Secretion and Their Fatty Acid Constituent Activity on Termites and Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

By Lixin Mao, Gregg Henderson, & Roger A. Laine

ABSTRACT


Although the frontal gland secretion of Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki) makes up to 36% of the soldier body weight and is secreted when engaging in defensive and aggressive interactions, very little is known about what and how it functions. We evaluated the frontal gland secretion of this species and seven recently identified saturated fatty acid constituents for their effect on soldier caste formation in Petri dish bioassays. The behavioral and toxic effects of the fatty acid constituents also were evaluated against both C. formosanus and the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), a natural predator. The frontal gland secretion was found to have no effect on termite soldier formation, but its fatty acid constituents stimulated soldier production. Termite workers in fatty acid treatments took less time to form pre-soldiers and soldiers than did controls. At 40 days post treatment (the end of experiment) more soldiers were produced in myristic (C14:0), palmitic (C16:0), stearic (C18:0), and hexacosanoic (C26:0) acid treatments when compared with the control. Stearic and behenic (C22:0) acid treatments showed some short term repellency to termites and stearic and arachidic (C20:0) acids reduced termite tunneling activity. Palmitic acid increased termite tunneling. No fatty acids tested were toxic to termites. There was no observable behavioral or toxic effect on red imported fire ants.

KEY WORDS: soldier formation, caste differentiation, Coptotermes formosanus, Solenopsis invicta, fatty acid.

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Growth of Young Colonies of Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) Feeding on Single Versus Multiple Wood Species

By Juan A. Morales-Ramos & M. Guadalupe Rojas

ABSTRACT


The impact of diet diversity on growth of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) colonies was studied. Groups of 22 one-year-old colonies of C. formosanus were fed different combinations of 3 wood species or one of 5 single species of wood including loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.), ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa Laws.), sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.), pecan (Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.), and birch (Betula alleghaniensis Briton). The colonies were allowed to grow for 14 mo at 27 ± 1ºC and 93 ± 5% RH. The effect of diet diversity on colony growth was measured and compared. Colonies feeding on a diverse diet exhibited a slightly faster growth than colonies feeding on single wood species; however, those differences were not statistically significant. Only colonies feeding on loblolly pine alone showed significantly lower growth than colonies feeding on a diverse diet that included loblolly pine. Statistical comparison of colony growth between groups feeding on diets with and without pecan showed a significantly greater growth in colonies feeding on diets that included pecan. Colonies feeding on diets that included both loblolly pine and ponderosa pine had a significantly higher soldier proportion than colonies feeding on diets that included only one of these species or none. Termite workers fed on all the wood species presented, but, at different rates. The role of food diversity and feeding choices on termite nutrition is discussed.

KEY WORDS: Formosan subterranean termite, nutrition, foraging, soldier proportion, pecan.

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Diverse Colony Genetic Structures in the Japanese Subterranean Termite Reticulitermes speratus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

By Yoshinobu Hayashi, Osamu Kitade, Mariko Gonda, Takeshi Kondo, Hitoshi Miyata, & Kotaro Urayama

ABSTRACT


Colony genetic structures of the Japanese subterranean termite Reticulitermes speratus were investigated using the microsatellite markers and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers (DSCP and PCR-RFLP). In two 30 × 30 m2 plots, all dead tree trunks and branches were probed for termite nests, and 32 nests detected were grouped into 15 colonies based on the microsatellite genotypes and mtDNA haplotypes. Average relatedness among workers within colonies exhibited considerable variation (r = 0.251 to 0.826). Seven of 15 colonies comprised two matrilines, which indicates pleometrosis and/or colony fusion. The rate of polygamous colonies (73%, estimated from microsatellite and mtDNA data) was considerably high compared with the previous genetic studies of Reticulitermes spp. Genetic differentiation between the two study plots separated by about 100 m was significant. The high polygamous colony rate and the genetic differentiation between the two plots suggested that colony budding was the predominant mode of colony reproduction in this population.

KEY WORDS: colony fusion, DSCP, microsatellite, mitochondrial DNA, PCR-RFLP, relatedness.

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Comparative Study of the Histology, Histochemistry and Ultramorphology of the Proventriculus in the Cephalotini Tribe (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

By Murillo Lino Bution & Flávio Henrique Caetano

ABSTRACT


The use of optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy propitiated the comparative examination of the nature of the histology, histochemistry and ultramorphology of the proventriculus bulb of Cephalotes atratus, C. clypeatus and C. pusillus. This portion of the digestive tract possesses highly sclerotized cuticular projections which act in the selection of victuals. A layer of amorphous material with mucous characteristics is present over the cuticle projections. That layer seems to optimize the efficiency of the proventriculus in the selection of food for social function in the colony (trophallaxis). More details of the characteristics of this structure are described in this study.

KEY WORDS: proventriculus, histochemistry, ultramorphology, ants, Cephalotini tribe.

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