Florida Entomologist (2020) 103, 484-491

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Reina L. Tong, Sang-Bin Lee, Jayshree S. Patel, Thomas Chouvenc and Nan-Yao Su (2020)
Methods for collecting large numbers of exuviae from Coptotermes (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae) termite colonies
Florida Entomologist 103 (4), 484-491
Abstract: The nutritional properties of subterranean termite exuviae (shed exoskeletons) are not well-known because obtaining the large quantities necessary for investigation is difficult. A method for collecting large numbers of exuviae is reported here for the Asian subterranean termite, Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae), an invasive and economically important tropical termite species. In this study, groups of 1,000 C. gestroi workers from 4-yr-old laboratory colonies (n = 3) were allowed to feed on a media pad dyed with Nile Blue A for 2 d. Approximately 16% of the original 1,000 workers did not uptake dye. These individuals were then placed into a Petri dish with dyed filter paper and checked hourly (10:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.) for 7 d. Newly molted workers and those individuals that started turning blue were removed to prevent feeding on exuviae. An average of 14 workers molted per d that yielded an average of 12 exuviae with an overall mean of 86 exuviae collected over the 7 d study period. We also found the number of individuals that acquired dye during the study significantly decreased by d. However, variables such as the number of exuviae, newly molted individuals, and cadavers were not correlated with d of collection because termites molt asynchronously.
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Database assignments for author(s): Thomas Chouvenc, Nan-Yao Su

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

Pest and/or beneficial records:

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

Coptotermes gestroi