Dynamics of ergatoid reproductives and development of microsatellite markers for Nasutitermes aquilinus (Isoptera: Termitidae)
Iago Bueno da Silva, Iago Bueno da Silva , Ives Haifig , Marcelo Luiz da Mota , Fabiana Elaine Casarin dos Santos , Ana Maria Costa-Leonardo
Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, Brazil; Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, Brazil ; Instituto de Ciências Agrárias, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Monte Carmelo, Brazil ; Instituto de Ciências Agrárias, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Monte Carmelo, Brazil ; Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Diadema, Brazil ; Departamento de Biologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, Brazil
The termite Nasutitermes aquilinus is a Neotropical species of great ecological importance, although it is also considered an opportunist pest, damaging wooden structures in urban areas. The reproductive strategies of this species involves the development of ergatoid neotenics, which differentiate from workers and supply the colony reproduction. However, the development and the genetic impact of these neotenic reproductives in colonies of this species is poorly known. Therefore, this study aimed to develop primers for microsatellite loci and evaluate the neotenic differentiation in N. aquilinus. The genome sequencing of N. aquilinus workers revealed 118 regions of microsatellites with trinucleotides, then 13 primer pairs were designed for different loci (Na1-Na13). Tests with these microsatellite markers were performed using DNA from workers from eight different nests, and then the DNA of 39 female ergatoids was extracted and amplified in PCR reactions. The PCR products were run on an ABI 3500 Genetic Analyzer, and the allele peaks were analyzed using the software Geneious. To evaluate the differentiation of neotenic queens of N. aquilinus, 208 individuals of all the apterous castes (including 30 major workers, 3 pre-neotenics and 10 ergatoid queens) were measured and the data were analyzed using a Principal Component Analysis. Our results showed that four microsatellite loci were polymorphic and may be used for genetic analysis (Na1, Na3, Na6 and Na10). Ergatoid neotenic queens develop from major workers through two successive molts, the first deriving in a pre-neotenic stage and the second in a neotenic. The ANOVA performed using the scores of PC1 did not show morphometric differences among the major workers, pre-neotenic and ergatoid queens (P>0.001). However, these individuals considerably differ in some morphological traits, such as the degree of the cuticle sclerotization, the development of compound eyes rudiments and physogastry in the ergatoid queens.