Decayed Wood Affecting the Attraction of the Pest Arboretum Termite Nasutitermes corniger (Isoptera: Termitidae) to Resource Foods
Keywords:decaying wood, foraging behavior, Nasutitermes, recruitment, Termites, wood-decomposition.
Nasutitermes corniger shows preferential feeding for the wood of different tree species, but it is not known whether attractiveness is a function of the state of decay. This study examined the foraging behavior of N. corniger towards wood in different stages of decay. Wood was exposed to weather for durations of 0, 3, 6 or 9 months. Then the wood was placed in a standard foraging arena with termites. Exploration and recruitment behavior were recorded for 1 h. Separate bioassays were conducted for three species: Pinus elliottii, Eucalyptus grandis and Manilkara huberi. In the tests with P. elliottii and E. grandis, more individuals were recruited to wood decayed for 6 months (191 and 185, respectively) than to undecayed wood (12 and 69, respectively). Similarly, more individuals were recruited to decayed M. huberi wood than undecayed, but only after 9 months (249 and 7, respectively). Decayed wood has therefore been demonstrated to be more attractive to N. corniger than undecayed wood. The different decomposition rates necessary to increase attractiveness may be explained by differences in wood density.
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