Monthly fluctuation of termite caste proportions (Isoptera) within fire ant mounds (hymenoptera: formicidae)

  • Authors: Shelton, Thomas G.; Vogt, J.T.; Tanley, Marla J.; Appel, Arthur G.
  • Publication Year: 2003
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Sociobiology Vol. 41(3): 571-581

Abstract

Monthly abundance and caste proportions of subterranean termites (Reticulitennes spp.) inhabiting red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) mounds were recorded during 1999 and 2000 from a relatively undisturbed forest edge in Tuskegee, Alabama. Temperature data were also recorded at these mounds; mean air, soil, and mound temperatures followed a sine model over the course of the year. During the late fall and earlywinter, relative proportion ofyoung workers (< 3rd instar) increased from 0 to 66.7% of the sample from the previous month, suggesting a change in temperature requirements arnong termite castes. These data demonstrate that Reticulitemes spp. termites are found year-round inhabiting active fire ant mounds, although relative caste proportions change seasonally. The hypothesis of a minimum soil temperature determining the movement of young Reticulitennes spp. workers into fire ant mounds (or other locations of increased temperature) is discussed.

  • Citation: Shelton, Thomas G.; Vogt, J.T.; Tanley, Marla J.; Appel, Arthur G. 2003. Monthly fluctuation of termite caste proportions (Isoptera) within fire ant mounds (hymenoptera: formicidae). Sociobiology Vol. 41(3): 571-581
  • Keywords: Solenopsis invicta, Reticulitermes spp., temperature dependence, niche exploitation
  • Posted Date: April 1, 1980
  • Modified Date: August 22, 2006
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