The goal of this project is to characterize the breeding structure (the number and relatedness of reproductive individuals) of Reticulitermes hageni and R. virginicus in the coastal plain of North Carolina using microsatellite markers. Due to the cryptic foraging and nesting of subterranean termites, molecular markers are an excellent way to obtain detailed genetic data to infer the breeding system. Knowledge of the breeding systems of subterranean termites will not only provide invaluable information on the social systems of these little studied termites, but may also allow for more directed control methods for these species. Samples of all termite species were collected along two transects in Bladen Lakes State Forest to obtain an overall spatial catalogue of species present. Individuals were then identified by soldier morphology and cuticular hydrocarbon phenotypes. We genotyped twenty individuals at nine microsatellite loci for each R. hageni and R. virginicus colony. Genetic data were analyzed using Wright's F-statistics, and the breeding system was inferred by comparing these results to published simulations of Thorne, et.al. (1999, Ethol. Ecol. Evol. 11: 149-169).
Species 1: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Reticulitermes hageni
Species 2: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Reticulitermes virginicus
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