Sunday, 17 November 2002 - 1:12 PM

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

Agonistic interactions and study of cuticular hydrocarbons in three species of Nasutitermes (Isoptera:Termitidae)

Solange Issa, Simon Bolivar University, Biology Department, Apdo. 89000, Caracas, Distrito Federal, Venezuela and Cristina Gomes, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Escuela de Biologia. Facultad de Ciencias, Los Chaguaramos, Caracas, Dtto. Federal, Venezuela.

** The purpose of this work was to describe and quantify the interspecific agonistic interactions between colonies of different species of the genera Nasutitermes (Termitidae: Nasutitermitinae) and evaluate their possible proximal causes. We performed filmed bioassays of encounters between peers of different species of the Nasutitermes genera (N. corniger, N. ephratae and N. costalis). In each essay we characterized and categorized the types of behavior observed (biting, vibrating, and alarm behavior) and measured the mortality within each species after interaction. Using gas chromatography and gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, we determined the cuticular hydrocarbon composition of the workers of the three species studied. We performed a cluster analysis to evaluate the correlation between the level of aggresion in each interaction type and the cuticular resemblance between pairs of species. On the basis of the frequency of bites and mortality we determined that interactions between N. ephratae y N. corniger and N. corniger and N. costalis are agonistic, while interactions between N. ephratae and N. costalis are no agonistic. The cluster analysis revealed that the cuticular hydrocarbons of N. ephratae and N. costalis are alike, while those of N. corniger differ from the hydrocarbons of the other two species. We propose that the variations among cuticular hydrocarbons of these species could be the proximal cause of recognition among them.

Species 1: Isoptera Termitidae Nasutitermes corniger (termites, cartoon nest termites)
Species 2: Isoptera Termitidae Nasutitermes ephratae (termites, cartoon nest termites)
Species 3: Isoptera Termitidae Nasutitermes costalis (termites, cartoon nest termites)
Keywords: Interspecific interactions

Back to Ten-Minute Papers, Subsection Cb. Apiculture and Social Insects (Termites and Honey Bees)
Back to Ten-Minute Papers, Section Ca, Cb, Cc, Cd, Ce, and Cf
Back to The 2002 ESA Annual Meeting and Exhibition