Establishment of fungus comb in laboratory colonies of macrotermes michaelseni and odontotermes montanus isoptera macrotermitinae
Insectes Sociaux 30(2): 204-209
ISSN/ISBN: 0020-1812 DOI: 10.1007/bf02223870
Workers in incipient laboratory colonies of M. michaelseni and O. montanus build fecal combs but are unable to inoculate these combs with fungus. These combs are eaten up and the colonies die unless fungus comb from a field colony is introduced when the first workers start foraging. This study investigated whether workers of the 2 spp. could produce fungus comb when fed on basidiospores of the appropriate Termitomyces species. When the 1st workers were offered basidiospores on filter paper, 92.5% of M. michaelseni colonies and 85% of O. montanus colonies produced fungus combs. When basidiospores were offered to O. montanus in a water suspension on the inner surface of the nest, 82.5% of colonies produced fungus combs.