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Polycalic nest systems and levels of aggression of Constrictotermes cyphergaster Isoptera, Termitidae, Nasutitermitinae in the semi-arid region of Brazil

Avany Bezerra-Gusmao, M.; Araujo Kogiso, K.; Honorato, T.O.; Xavier de Melo, T.; Barbosa, J.R. C.; Gomes Bandeira, A.

Sociobiology 53(1): 101-111

2009


ISSN/ISBN: 0361-6525
Accession: 037456022

This study evaluates the existence of polycalism in nests of Constrictotermes cyphergaster and the levels of aggression between individuals from polycalic and non-polycalic nests in the semi-arid region of Brazil. Field observations were performed during the wet season in 2007 and 2008, and during the dry season in 2007, between 17:00 h and 07:00 h. Levels of aggression were evaluated using bioassays with treatments up to 50, 100 and 200m apart for non-polycalic nests and 50, 450 and 500m for polycalic nests (the latter were found only during the wet season). It was observed that, after foraging, part of the termite population would return to the largest nest in volume of the polycalic colonies and part of the population would stay in the satellite nests. Aggression levels were significantly different when the distances were compared in the presence of nests of different polycalic colonies (F2331.3) and in the absence (F222) of polycalism (d.f. = 2; P = 0.00). The number of injuries was significantly correlated to the distances between the polycalic nests (r = 0.83; P = 0.00). The seasonality of polycalism in C. cyphergaster is one of the causes of the increase in density of new nests during the wet season.

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