The aim of our study was to investigate the intra- and interspecific agonistic behaviors exhibited by the worker and soldier castes of the subterranean termite Microcerotermes crassus Snyder (Isoptera: Termitidae). Aggression between M. crassus colonies from different field locations and also against three termite species—Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann), Globitermes sulphureus Haviland, and Odontotermes sp.—were observed in the laboratory. Termite responses were tested in paired combination of castes (soldiers versus soldiers, soldiers versus workers, and workers versus workers) consisting of 10 individuals each. Significant agonistic behaviors were observed only in encounters between pairings of different termite species. M. crassus was aggressive toward individuals from different species but not toward individuals from different M. crassus colonies. Mortality of M. crassus reached 100% in most of the interspecific encounters. However, no or low mortality was recorded in the intraspecific pairings.
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Vol. 103 • No. 5