Sunday, 17 November 2002 - 1:36 PM

This presentation is part of : Ten-Minute Papers, Subsection Cb. Apiculture and Social Insects (Termites and Honey Bees)

Reproductive strategies in incipient colonies of the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes Kollar

Sabine Grube and Brian T. Forschler. University of Georgia, Department of Entomology, 424 BioScience Building, Athens, GA

Incipient colonies of the eastern subterranean termite Reticulitermes flavipes Kollar dispose all but one primary reproductive females if set up with multiple dealated males and females. Polygyny occurred in 6.5% of all colonies during the first four months, after eight months all incipient groups housed only a single queen. Two or three primary males have been found in 13% of all colonies over 2 years. Polygynous and polyandrous groups produced as much progeny as colonies with a single royal pair at a given time. Generally colony growth in R. flavipes was low, after 2 years approximately 1500 individuals (eggs, larvae, workers, soldiers) were present, in 4 years-old colonies approximately 2100 specimens were counted. The frequency of soldiers varied between 3.2% in 4 months-old colonies and 0.9% in 2 years-old groups. Primary queens reached a body mass of approx. 6.7 mg after 2 years and did not gain considerable weight between 2 and 4 years. The daily egg-laying rate reached its maximum after 2 years. First nymphs and young neotenics occurred for the first time in 2 years-old groups, a replacement apterous neotenic female had been found in a single 24 months-old colony. A simple statistical model was used to estimate the progeny of primary reproductive females over time.

Species 1: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Reticulitermes flavipes (Eastern subterranean termite)
Keywords: Colony development, Colony growth

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