The importance of lipid, in the form of faty acids, and ergosterol content in the diet of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) was investigated. Incipient colonise of C. formosanus were created by collecting alates with a UV light trap. Paired dealates were placed inside tight fit dishes and provided with 3 g of a cellulose based substrate. In the first experiment 6 groups of 100 incipient colonies were provided with different concentrations (25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 ppm) of vegetable oil and compared to a control group with no lipids on their diet. The second experiment consisted of 7 groups of 90 colonies provided with different concentrations of ergosterol(50, 150, 300, 450, 600, 750, and 900 ppm)and compared to a control group. The growth of the colonies was measured by progeny counts done at 3, 6, and 12 months of colony age. Results showed that colony growth was positively correlated with the concentration of lipids on the diet. The control group produced significantly less progeny than the treatments with 400, 800, and 1600 ppm of oils. In the second experiment the groups with 50 and 150 ppm of ergosterol produced higher number of progeny than the other treatments and control.
Species 1: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Coptotermes formosanus (Formosan subterranean termite)
Keywords: incipient colony, nutritional ecology
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