Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata (2013) 147, 154-159

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Nathan Woodbury and Gerhard Gries (2013)
Firebrats, Thermobia domestica, aggregate in response to the microbes Enterobacter cloacae and Mycotypha microspora
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 147 (2), 154-159
Abstract: The firebrat, Thermobia domestica (Packard) (Thysanura: Lepismatidae), aggregates in response to the faeces of conspecifics as well as shelters previously inhabited by conspecifics. Our objective was to determine the source of the aggregation signal. Filter paper previously exposed to firebrats induced strong arrestment of firebrats. Polar solvents (water, methanol, acetonitrile) and less polar solvents (hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl ether), alone or in combination, failed to extract the aggregation signal from firebrat-exposed paper. Moreover, solvent-extracted paper continued to induce firebrat arrestment. In contrast, the aggregation signal could be obtained by physical extraction (freeze/thawing or ultrasonication) of firebrat-exposed paper submerged in water. Five fungal species and four bacterial species were isolated from ultrasonicant solutions on potato dextrose-, nutrient-, and GlcNAc-agar. Of the nine isolated microbes tested, only the fungus Mycotypha microspora Fenner (Mucorales) and the bacterium Enterobacter cloacae (Jordan) Hormaeche and Edwards (Enterobacteriaceae) induced arrestment of firebrats in bioassays. Our data support the conclusion that firebrats do not form aggregations in response to pheromones; instead, they aggregate in the presence of specific microbes or their metabolites.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Gerhard Gries

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Thermobia domestica