Submitted to: Sociobiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2008
Publication Date: 3/7/2008
Citation: Khamraev, A.S., Kuchkarova, L.S., Ahmerov, R.N., Mirzaeva, G.C., Hanzafarova, N.V., Bland, J.M., Abullaev, I.I., Raina, A.K. 2008. Trail Following Activity in Extracts of Sternal Glands from Anacanthotermes turkestanicus (Isoptera: Hodotermitidae) Sociobiology 51(3):685-696. Interpretive Summary: The Turkestan termite is a major pest of historic buildings as well as houses made from mud-bricks and timber in Central Asian states. This termite also feeds on shrubs and grasses presumably using a trail pheromone produced in one of its abdominal glands. Foraging behavior was studied in the field. The glands from termite workers were extracted in a solvent and trail following activity confirmed in the extract using two types of bioassays. Basic characteristics of the putative trail pheromone were determined. The information will be crucial for chemical identification of the pheromone. Once the pheromone is identified, it may be used in attracting the termites to bait stations.
Technical Abstract: The Turkestan termite Anacanthotermes turkestanicus (Isoptera: Hodotermitidae) is a harvester termite found in the Central Asian region. The workers forage before sunrise or late in the evenings. This termite, like most other termites, has a sternal gland under the 4th sternite that produces a pheromone which evokes trial following. Sternal gland extracts were tested in Y-tube and paper-trail assays. The putative trail pheromone was most active at 10 gland equivalents and the activity was significantly reduced or lost after 60 min. Temperature for optimal trail-following activity was 25-26oC. Extracts made from sternal glands of soldiers were less attractive when tested with workers indicating some caste specificity. Initial fractionation of the extract did not reveal a single active fraction. Chemical identification of the trail pheromone is in progress.