Influence of Food Resource Size on the Foraging Behavior of Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky)
Keywords:Arboreal termites, Nasutitermitinae, Eucalyptus grandis, foraging behavior, recruitment pattern
In general, termite foraging can be affected by physical and chemical factors linked to food. This study investigated if the wood length of Eucalyptus grandis W. Hill ex Maiden, as a food resource, influences the behavior of foraging events of Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky). Nests with mature and active colonies were collected in the field and transferred to glass cubes connected to a test arena under laboratory conditions. Wooden blocks of E. grandis, with a 2.5 x 2.0 cm rectangular cross section, were offered to termites in three different lengths: 5, 10 and 15 cm. Each test was repeated with 20 nests and lasted 60 minutes, when the following behavioral events and their duration were observed: initial exploration, initial recruitment and mass recruitment. At the end of each test, the quantities of termites (total, workers and soldiers) and gnawing workers were determined. The results show that longer blocks favored a higher occurrence of exploration and initial recruitment. However, the highest mass recruitment occurred with the 10 cm blocks. The length of the wood influenced the total number of termites recruited and gnawing workers; both were highest for the 10 cm blocks. There was no significant difference in relation to exploration time of the blocks and number of workers and soldiers recruited. Therefore, we conclude that wood length is a factor that can affect N. corniger foraging.
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