Tuesday, 28 October 2003

This presentation is part of : Display Presentations, Section Cd. Behavior and Ecology

Habitat-specific life-history variation in the Caribbean termite Nasutitermes acajutlae (Isoptera: Termitidae)

Punidan D. Jeyasingh and Claire A. Fuller. Murray State University, Dept. of Biology, 334 Blackburn Hall, Murray, KY

Life-history characteristics of Nasutitermes acajutlae on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands were studied over a four year period. Four habitat types (dry forests, moist forests, sparse vegetation and woodlands) were identified, and termite density and volume of lying dead wood among habitats were quantified using quadrats. Habitats differed significantly in the volume of lying dead wood and total termite biomass within quadrats was positively related to wood volume. We hypothesized that the volume of dead wood affected growth, reproduction, and yearly survival of individual colonies, and assessed > 100 colonies yearly for these parameters. There were no significant differences in growth and survival of colonies among habitats. Colonies in sparse vegetation were smaller and reproduced at a smaller size compared to those in the other three habitats. Although termite density in sparse vegetation was high compared to dry and moist, individual colonies in sparse vegetation had lower fitness. Results from population-level (density) and individual-level (fitness) studies indicate different optimal habitats, possibly due to unpredictable resource flux in certain habitats.

Species 1: Isoptera Termitidae Nasutitermes acajutlae
Keywords: dead wood, termite density

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