Environmental Entomology (2018) 47, 1509-1516

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Chun-I Chiu, Hsin-Ting Yeh, Pai-Ling Li, Chih-Yu Kuo, Ming-Jer Tsai and Hou-Feng Li (2018)
Foraging phenology of the fungus-growing termite Odontotermes formosanus (Blattodea: Termitidae)
Environmental Entomology 47 (6), 1509-1516
Abstract: Fungus-growing termites are major contributors to litter decomposition and an agriculture pest in tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia. The foraging behavior of fungus-growing termites was hypothesized to be seasonal and may associate with climatic factors and the occurrence of natural enemies. In this study, we tested the effects of climatic factors and the presence of ants on the foraging activity of the fungus-growing termite Odontotermes formosanus (Shiraki) (Blattodea: Termitidae). Termite-foraging activities were quantified monthly based on the number of wood stakes occupied, amount of wood consumed, and foraging population size. The rate of wood-stake decomposition was measured by monitoring 484 wood stakes in a tropical forest over the course of nearly 6 yr. The results revealed that temperature and rainfall are the major climatic factors influencing the foraging seasonality of O. formosanus. Termites occupied fewer wood stakes during hot–wet seasons when fewer ants were present. The results of a path analysis supported that termite-foraging seasonality correlated mainly with climatic factors rather than the presence of ants. A new foraging hypothesis, the eat-and-run strategy, is proposed to explain the inconsistent seasonal foraging behaviors observed in fungus-growing termites.
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Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Hou-Feng Li

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

Pest and/or beneficial records:

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

Odontotermes formosanus