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Title: Importance of Lipids for Queen Fecundity and Colony Growth of Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

item Morales Ramos, Juan
item Rojas, Maria - Guadalupe

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2007
Publication Date: 10/20/2007
Citation: Morales Ramos, J.A., Rojas, M.G. 2007. Importance of Lipids for Queen Fecundity and Colony Growth of Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Environmental Entomology 36(5):1014-1017.

Interpretive Summary: The Formosan subterranean termite is one of the most important urban pests and invasive species in the United States. Knowledge about the nutrition of the Formosan subterranean termite is fundamental for the development of effective bait formulations and for the implementation of effective cultural practices aimed to reduce the spread of this invasive pest. This research was aimed to the study of lipid nutrition of the Formosan subterranean termite. Lipids are found naturally in wood and may be an important source of nutrition for subterranean termites and may also play a role determining termite feeding preferences. This study focused on the importance of lipids for termite colony growth. Because termites are social insects, we used whole termite colonies as experimental units and follow their growth under different lipid nutrition regimes for a full year. Our study provided strong evidence that increase in the concentration of lipids in the termite food source correspond to an increase in queen fecundity and colony growth. This study may provide with an explanation for observations done in previous studies that determined differences in the nutritional value of different wood species to the Formosan subterranean termites. The use of lipids on bait matrices may enhance their palatability to termite workers increasing bait consumption.

Technical Abstract: The importance of lipids on the nutrition of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki was studied. Groups of 100 incipient colonies of C. formosanus were reared on artificial diet formulations containing 9 different concentrations of soy lecithin. Eggs were counted every 15 d for a 5-mo period at 27 ± 1ºC, 93 ± 5% RH, and total darkness. The total number of eggs oviposited per queen (fecundity) was estimated by using a developmental rate-based graphic integration technique. At the end of a 1-y period the progeny of each colony was counted and recorded. Analysis of variance showed significant differences of both, queen fecundity and hatched progeny per colony, among the diet treatments. Single linear regression analysis showed a significant positive correlation between lecithin concentration in diet and queen fecundity and between lecithin concentration and hatched progeny per colony. The implications on termite nutritional ecology are discussed.