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A population survey of the Italian subterranean termite Reticulitermes lucifugus lucifugus Rossi in Bagnacavallo , using the Triple Mark Recapture technique



A population survey of the Italian subterranean termite Reticulitermes lucifugus lucifugus Rossi in Bagnacavallo , using the Triple Mark Recapture technique



Zoological Science 15(6): 963-969



The present paper presents an application of the Triple Mark Recapture technique on two Italian populations of the subterranean termite (Reticulitermes lucifugus). Two large infested areas in the historical center of the town Bagnacavallo (Ravenna) were chosen. Two dye markers were utilized, Nile Blue A or Neutral Red respectively for the two sites. The first population was estimated at 1,085,000 +- 92,000 insects, foraging on a surface of 1500 m2; the second, smaller, population has been estimated to be 640,000+-33,000 insects, foraging on an area of 675 m2. Maximum linear distance observed in both sites was 45-50 m. Population dynamics look different in the two sites: in the first site the spread distribution with a few insects at each feeding point probably indicates an old, well established, population which grows slowly in all directions during the hot season. In the second site the expansion was much more rapid and it is possible to hypothesise that the termite colony settled in this area more recently and that it is a relatively young, growing colony. The gathered data appear of great utility in extending the knowledge about biology, ecology and behaviour of the Italian subterranean termite.

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