Aggregation and Feeding Behavior of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) on Wood Decayed by Three Species of Wood Rot Fungi

Mary L. Cornelius


Aggregation and feeding behavior of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, was evaluated on wood decayed by three species of fungus, the brown rot fungus, Gloeophyllum trabeum and two white rot fungi, Phanerochaete chrysosporium and Pycnoporus cinnibarinus. Although termites aggregated on decayed sawdust from all three species in at least some of the tests, sawdust decayed by P. chrysosporium elicited aggregation behavior by termites over the greatest range of incubation periods. In some tests, termites avoided sawdust decayed by G. trabeum. Termite feeding on blocks decayed for 90 d was significantly greater than on control blocks for all three species of fungi, despite the significantly lower decay rate of P. cinnibarinus. Increasing our understanding of the interaction of termites with wood rot fungi could lead to the identification of chemicals that attract termites to bait stations.


Coptotermes formosanus; fungus; aggregation; consumption; decay

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