Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2006
Publication Date: 3/1/2006
Citation: Morales Ramos, J.A., Rojas, M.G., Sittertz-Bhatkar 2006. Peritrophic matrix of the formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), Florida Entomologist. 89: 99-101. Interpretive Summary: The peritrophic matrix is a chitinous layer that lines the inner cavity of the insects midgut. The peritrophic matrix has a similar composition (Chitin) as the insect outer cuticle and is produced by the same process. The peritrophic matrix is continuously produced in the midgut wrapping the food material to help in the digestion process and to protect the fragile midgut epithelium from abrasion by hard food particles. Our research determined that Formosan subterranean termite possess type II peritrophic matrix. This type of matrix is continuously synthesized in the front of the midgut as a continuous cylindrical bag wrapping the pieces of chewed wood. This information is important to understand the potential effects of chitin synthesis inhibitor toxicants used in termite bait systems. These chemicals interfere in the synthesis of chitin potentially disrupting the continuous production of the peritrophic matrix potentially allowing serious damage to the inner middle gut epithelium.
Technical Abstract: The peritrophic matrix of workers of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) was studied. Termites were decapitated, fixed in a mixture of paraformaldehyde-glutaraldehyde, embedded in epoxy, and sectioned at 1'm thickness. Sections were stained in a methylene blue-azure II, counter-stained in basic fuchsin and inspected in a compound optical microscope. Our observations showed the presence of structures in the anterior part of the mesenteron resembling those described for a type II peritrophic matrix.