This study describes the behavioral and histological changes of the molting process in Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki caused by the chitin synthesis inhibitor noviflumuron. Termites exposed to noviflumuron initiated ecdysis as untreated individuals did; however, peristalsis contractions were weak and the expansion of the dorsal breach of the exoskeleton did not occur. Treated termites could not complete their molting process and died after the initiation of the ecdysis. Histological observations showed that the process of voiding the gut protozoa during premolting was not affected by the noviflumuron treatment. However, the formation of the new cuticle was disrupted resulting in the loss of integrity of the cuticle. The alteration of the cuticle was visible in the gizzard (foregut), the thoracic pleurons, and most of the exoskeleton. Muscles were partially able to reattach to the incompletely formed new cuticle, and muscle contractions resulted in tearing off the cuticle. Because the integrity of the newly formed cuticle was compromised by the noviflumuron treatment, we concluded that termites' death was caused primarily by the loss of hemolymph as a result of the damage done by the muscle contractions on the exoskeleton during the peristalsis. As the physiological homeostasis was disrupted, termites were too weak to shed their old cuticle, ultimately resulting in termite dying during the molting process.
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Vol. 107 • No. 2