Seasonal and daily activity patterns of subterranean, wood-eating termite foragers

TA Evans, PV Gleeson

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35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Daily and seasonal changes in foraging activity of subterranean wood-feeding termites are not well known, but their subterranean habit is widely assumed to reduce the effect of the weather on their behaviour. The number of foraging Coptotermes lacteus in artificial feeding stations was examined over 24-h periods during summer and winter in temperate Australia. In summer, termites foraged disparately, with greater numbers found distant from the mounds, whereas in winter termites were clustered in very high numbers near the mounds. Daily patterns were seen in forager numbers: during summer, peaks occurred in late morning and late afternoon and troughs at dawn and noon, whereas in winter a peak occurred at noon and a trough at dawn. These patterns were associated with air and soil temperatures, which indicated that daily and seasonal weather patterns do influence subterranean wood-feeding termites. The foraging pattern is discussed with respect to predator behaviour and how the pattern might be used to infer positioning of cryptic nesting termite species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Journal of Zoology
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

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