What do vibrations have to do with termites' food choice?

R. Inta, T. A. Evans, J. C. S. Lai, M. Lenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


It has been shown previously that termites are sensitive to vibrations, using them as a communication channel. However, their ability to use vibrations in assessment of food structures is little understood. Here we present timber of differing quantities to two drywood termite species, Cryptotermes domesticus and Cr. secundus. We also expose the termites to vibration signals produced as a by-product of their feeding, and to food sources with altered effective material properties. We show here that both species have a food size preference, which is determined by vibrations. We also show that Cr secundus is able to discriminate material properties. Although the exact characteristics in the vibration signals they utilise are yet to be fully identified, these observations reveal previously unexplored aspects of termite foraging decision-making, which might help to minimise their economic impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalAcoustics Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


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