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1 April 2006 Response of Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) to Disturbance in Laboratory Arenas at Different Temperatures and Soldier Proportions
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This study examined the evacuation response of groups of Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) workers after disturbance in laboratory arenas across a range of temperatures (16, 21, and 27°C) and soldier proportions (1, 3, and 5%). Groups of workers and soldiers were disturbed in a central chamber and then monitored during a 5-d period to examine the percentage that initially evacuated, percentage of evacuees that returned, time to evacuate, time to return, and rates (percentage per hour) of evacuation and return between different temperatures and between soldier levels. Disturbance response patterns were observed that generally consisted of partial evacuation followed by movement back into disturbed areas. General alarm responses were observed and initiated specific alarm responses that resulted in more termites eventually returning to disturbed areas than originally evacuated. The typical evacuation response was not observed in groups with 5% soldiers. Instead, clustering in disturbed areas replaced evacuation. Regression revealed significant correlations between temperature and evacuation time, return time, evacuation rate, and return rate, indicating that R. flavipes alarm behaviors are influenced by temperature. There was a significant correlation between soldier proportions and the percentage of evacuees returning to disturbed areas. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed significant differences between temperatures in the time to evacuate, evacuation rate, time to return, and return rate. ANOVA also showed significant differences between soldier proportions in the mean percentage of evacuees from and the rate of return to disturbed areas. Our results demonstrate that temperature influences the rate, but not the magnitude, of alarm response, whereas the influence of soldiers may not be as important in the context of general alarm as specific alarm.

M. A. Schwinghammer and R. M. Houseman "Response of Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) to Disturbance in Laboratory Arenas at Different Temperatures and Soldier Proportions," Journal of Economic Entomology 99(2), 462-468, (1 April 2006).
Received: 17 May 2005; Accepted: 1 October 2005; Published: 1 April 2006

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