Termite Foraging and Preference of Soil Type and Moisture Content in Laboratory Bioassays

Ali, Ibrahim Gima; Ahmed, Berhan M. (Shiday); Sheridan, Gary; French, John R. J.
June 2014
Australian Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences;2014 Special, Vol. 8 Issue 8, p1
Academic Journal
Termites (Coptotermes acinaciformis) were tested for their preference of different soil types in a laboratory condition at different soil moisture levels. The soil types provided were Topsoil, Fine sand, Potting mix and Peat at moisture levels of 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20% for 30 days. The experimental apparatus involved individual termites foraging from nesting jars connected to four sets of standing perspex tubes filled with the four soil types attached to the jar lid on top at each moisture level. Foraging activities were observed at 12 hour intervals to avoid disturbance while the number of days taken by termites to penetrate and forage inside each soil column was analyzed as a measure of preference by termites. Soil type had a significant effect on termite preference whereas soil moisture content did not have any significant effect. At lower moisture levels of 0 and 5%, termites preferred Fine sand. Topsoil was preferred at moisture levels of 10, 15 and 20%. Termites built distinct tunnels and tunneling branches in Fine sand, most of the time starting from top to bottom, and covered them with dark clay particles brought from the nesting jars. However, they transported soil particles from Topsoil columns to the nesting jars to build foraging layers on top. The average rate of soil transport from a Topsoil column was higher at higher moisture levels.


Related Articles

  • Influence of dry soil on the ability of Formosan subterranean termites, Coptotermes formosanus, to locate food sources. Cornelius, Mary L.; Osbrink, Weste L. A. // Journal of Insect Science;2011, Vol. 11, p1 

    The article focuses on a research conducted in order to evaluate the effect of dry soil on the ability of Formosan subterranean termites called Coptotermes formosanus to construct tunnels and to find new food sources. It discusses the collection of termites from three field colonies located in...

  • Effect of Organic and Inorganic Landscape Mulches on Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) Foraging Activity. LONG, CATHERINE E.; THORNE, BARBARA L.; BREISCH, NANCY L.; DOUGLASS, LARRY W. // Environmental Entomology;Oct2001, Vol. 30 Issue 5, p832 

    This research investigated whether organic and inorganic landscape mulches, which buffer soils against temperature extremes and desiccation, create conditions conducive to subterranean foraging by Reticulitermes virginicus (Banks). In the field, termite activity was measured with cardboard...

  • What does foraging mean? Ricca, Stephanie // Pest Control;Jun2004, Vol. 72 Issue 6, p57 

    Reports on a study by Brian Forschler, University of Georgia entomologist, on termite foraging, termite colonies and the impact of foraging and colonies on a baiting program. Mobility of the termite queen throughout her life; Movement of termites from feeding site to potential nest continuously;...

  • Escape Behavior of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Response to Disturbance. Gautam, Bal; Henderson, Gregg // Journal of Insect Behavior;Jan2012, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p70 

    Disturbances to monitors and baits have often been noted as a confounding factor for the success of termite baiting systems. We studied escape behavior of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki to a food source disturbance in the laboratory. Four peripheral chambers connected to the central food chamber...

  • The foraging tunnel system of the Namibian Desert termite, Baucaliotermes hainesi. Tschinkel, Walter R. // Journal of Insect Science;2010, Vol. 10, p1 

    The article discusses a study on foraging tunnel system of the Namibian Desert termite, Baucaliotermes hainesi. It was found that tunnels swoop up and down forming high points at riser locations, and they have a complex architecture and nest consisted of a hard outer of cemented sand. According...

  • Hymenopteran Collective Foraging and Information Transfer about Resources 2012. Contrera, F. A. L.; Couvillon, M. J.; Nieh, J. C. // Psyche: A Journal of Entomology;2012, p1 

    An introduction is presented in which the editors discuss various papers within the issue on several topics including the types of information shared by social insects to activate nestmates during the search of food, the regulation of such foraging activity, and the role of competition in foraging.

  • Hot-Blooded Bees. Stone, Graham N. // Natural History;Jul93, Vol. 102 Issue 7, p22 

    Examines a species of bee called 'Anthophora plumipes' which is Britain's most common species of flower bee. Endothermic capabilities and life cycle of the bees; How small bees and insects lose heat rapidly which causes their flight muscles to be less efficient during cold weather; Courtship and...

  • Laboratory Study of the Influence of Substrate Type and Temperature on the Exploratory Tunneling by Formosan Subterranean Termite. Gautam, Bal K.; Henderson, Gregg // Insects (2075-4450);Sep2012, Vol. 3 Issue 3, p629 

    Using two-dimensional foraging arenas, laboratory tests were conducted to investigate the effect of soil type, soil moisture level and ambient temperature on the exploratory tunneling by Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki. In choice arenas consisting of two substrate types having two moisture levels...

  • Self-organized asymmetries in ant foraging: a functional response to food type and colony needs. St├ęphane Portha; Jean-Louis Deneubourg; Claire Detrain // Behavioral Ecology;Nov2002, Vol. 13 Issue 6, p776 

    The dominant paradigm to explain asymmetries in the spatial distribution of foraging animals is that they track the spatial heterogeneity of their environment. However, in social insects, endogenous spatial asymmetries can emerge within a uniform environment as an outcome from the...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics