International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Factors influencing aggressive encounter between subterranean termites and free moving and restrained fire ants

Author(s):
Duane M. Jackson, Duane M. Jackson , Julian James-Burke , Cecily Reese , Amani Lee
Institution(s):
Department of Psychology, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Department of Psychology, Morehouse College, Atlanta Georgia, USA ; Department of Psychology, Morehouse College, Atlanta Georgia, USA ; Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia USA ; Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia USA
The purpose of this study was two-fold; to examine the effect of independent variables effect on aggressive interaction between subterranean termites (Reticulitermes sp.) and fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) and second, to develop a measure for aggression at the colony level. In previous studies, our lab looked at the interaction in termites and ants, in which the ants were restrained or free moving. In this study, we will study the interaction of termites and ants, in which the ants are free moving and restraint in the same arena. Groups of ten worker termites, with or without a solider termite, from different colonies, were placed in an arena for 15 minutes, with a live and dead fire ant. The behaviors recorded were number and latency of termites biting ants, termites latching, the number of times termites exhibited rapid oscillatory vibrations (ROV), and the number of dead ants. Our independent variables were termite colony, presence of a solider termite, and living and dead ants. Earliest studies have showed significant differences among the colonies on certain measures, the presence of a solider had little effect and termites responded differently to living and dead ants. We have also found that termites are more aggressive toward free moving ants than restraint. We expected to see similar results when termites were placed in an arena in which there is a free moving and restrained ant. The goal of this research is to have a measure that can differentiate termite colonies in regard to their level of aggression.
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