Bioassays were conducted to examine the response of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki and Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) to whole body extracts of termites. Bioassays were also conducted to determine if trail-following behavior could be elicited in glass tubes after different lengths of exposure to termites and if termites showed any species-specific response to exposed tubes. Trail-following behavior was elicited in both species in response to whole body extracts of their nestmates. Although C. formosanus responded to the R. flavipes extract, R. flavipes did not show a difference in response to the C. formosanus extract versus solvent-treated controls. Trail-following behavior was elicited in both C. formosanus and R. flavipes by glass tubes exposed to termites for 5 min. Although neither species showed a preference for glass tubes exposed to their nestmates over tubes exposed to termites of the other species, there were differences in the persistency of trail-following substances deposited in tubes by the two species. When tubes were exposed to termites for 5 min, trail-following behavior was elicited by tubes exposed to C. formosanus for at least 1 h after exposure, whereas termites no longer responded to tubes that were exposed to R. flavipes 10–15 min after exposure. When tubes were exposed to termites for 14 d, termites deposited chemical markers which lasted for at least 8 d. There was no difference in the response of C. formosanus to tubes exposed to their nestmates versus tubes exposed to R. flavipes. However, R. flavipes showed a significant preference for tubes exposed to their nestmates over tubes exposed to C. formosanus. Because there was no evidence of a species-specific response by R. flavipes to tubes exposed to termites for only 5 min, it is possible that chemicals in the feces or in salivary secretions deposited in tubes influenced the behavior of R. flavipes in tests using tubes exposed to termites for 14 d.
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