1359 Tunnel excavation through wood by the Formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010: 8:41 AM
Royal Palm, Salon 1 (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
Paul Bardunias , Department of Biology, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY
Nan-Yao Su , Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Davie, FL
Subterranean termites excavate extensive tunnel networks through soil in search of wood. Investigations into the mechanics of group soil excavation in termites have suggested that the process involves the removal of soil parcels from tunnel tips and the placement of these parcels along tunnel walls and in opened spaces. When Coptotermes formosanus were presented with a barrier consisting of a stretch of wood, they excavated tunnels through the barrier. The termites did not simply “eat” their way through the wood, but displayed the same excavation behaviors used to tunnel through soil. Variables associated with excavation were compared for both wood and sand within experimental arenas, as well as the behavior of individually marked termites presented with the choice of tunneling through wood or soil.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.51678