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Measuring wood preference in termites



Measuring wood preference in termites



Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 56(2): 117-124



Feeding preferences of xylophagous termites have been determined by comparing differences in wood biomass removed, percentage of wood consumed or degree of damage rate in arbitrary categories. When test woods differ in physical characteristics such as density, these measures are not comparable. We examined the response of the Formosan termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) to wood that differed in physical characteristics by compressing blocks to 40% greater than the natural density. Termites ate significantly greater percentages, but similar amounts of biomass, of uncompressed over compressed natural pine. In contrast, they ate significantly greater amounts of biomass, but similar percentages, of compressed over uncompressed mahogany. Whether percentage or amount of biomass removed should be used as a measure of preference depends on what regulates insect meal size. If termites consume meals of fixed biomass, then biomass consumed is the correct measure; percentage removed is appropriate if they consume meals of fixed volume.

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Accession: 001882555

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1570-7458.1990.tb01388.x


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