Chemical regulation of polyethism during foraging in the neotropical termiteNasutitermes costalis

  title={Chemical regulation of polyethism during foraging in the neotropical termiteNasutitermes costalis},
  author={James F. A. Traniello and Christine Busher},
  journal={Journal of Chemical Ecology},
The soldiers ofNasutitermes costalis communicate information about the presence and location of food by laying chemical trails of sternal gland secretion. These trails first recruit additional soldiers, and as the number of soldiers contacting food and returning to the nest increases, trail pheromone concentration increases, and workers are recruited. This polyethic pattern of recruitment does not appear to depend on qualitative (caste-specific) properties of soldier and worker sternal gland… 

Trail Pheromones in Termites

There is a clear difference between composition of trail pheromone in termite species from basal families and from those of more advanced families.

The effect of nonnestmates on foraging trail caste ratios ofNasutitermes corniger (Isoptera: Termitidae)

It is demonstrated that the addition of nonnestmates temporarily alters caste ratios on foraging trails, representing a shift in the distribution of castes in response to environmental perturbation.

Dynamics of Foraging and Recruitment Behavior in the Asian Subterranean Termite Coptotermesgestroi (Rhinotermitidae)

The present study investigated the trail-following behavior of the subterranean termite Coptotermes gestroi under laboratory conditions and showed that workers were the first to initiate the exploration to the food source, and that scout foragers always laid trail pheromones when entering into unknown territories.

The labial gland in the termiteSchedorhinotermes lamanianus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae): Morphology and function during communal food exploitation

InSchedorhinotermes lamanianus, size and cellular differentiation of the labial gland exhibit a caste-specific polymorphism and a newly developed bioassay is demonstrated.

Trail-following behavior ofReticulitermes hesperus Banks (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

Termites walking up pheromone gradients proceeded to the high-concentration termini without reversing direction and are thus able to orient along a gradient of trail phersomone by longitudinal klinotaxis.

Caste, colony, and species specificity of the trail pheromone in two sympatric nasutitermitinae (Isoptera: Termitidae)

The results suggest that both quantitative and qualitative differences in the trail pheromone are used by the termites to discriminate among conspecific and non-specific trails.

Caste-dependent reactions to soldier defensive secretion and chiral alarm/recruitment pheromone inNasutitermes princeps

The results suggest the following complementary roles of soldiers and workers in defense: the first line of defense is provided by soldiers, which immobilize and incapacitate mobile enemies with their sticky secretion, and Defense then is completed by older large workers as they eliminate the source of disturbance.

Exploratory and recruitment phases in soldier-mediated foraging activities in the termite, Coptotermes intermedius Silvestri (Rhinotermitidae: Coptotermitinae)

  • B. Olugbemi
  • Materials Science
    Bulletin of Entomological Research
  • 2011
Results showed that minor soldiers initiate the exploratory phase of search, while the workers are involved in the eventual recruitment process, under appropriate soldier-worker caste ratio or percentages, exploratory activities in C. intermedius may be regulated.

Identification of multi-component trail pheromones in the most evolutionarily derived termites, the Nasutitermitinae (Termitidae).

The secretion of trail pheromone blends appears to be an important step in the evolution of chemical communication in termites, which optimizes foraging, and promotes their ecological success.



Enemy deterrence in the recruitment strategy of a termite: Soldier-organized foraging in Nasutitermes costalis.

  • J. Traniello
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1981
The nasute soldiers of the neotropical termite Nasutitermes costalis function as scouts by exploring new terrain for food in advance of the worker caste and regulate foraging activity by laying


In a laboratory foraging situation food, when detected, stimulates workers of Trinervitermes bettonianus (Sjöst) to lay stronger recruitment trails and to motivate nestmates to mass foraging. Single

The Sternal Gland: Variation in Size and Activity in Worker Instars of Trinervitermes Bettonianus (Sjöst) (Termitidae)

The sternal gland shows significant differences in size and activity in different instars of the worker caste of Trinervitermes bettonianus, and may be of ecological significance, since these stages were found to constitute over 90% of foragers under field conditions.

Fine structure and pheromonal properties of the polymorphic sternal gland inTrinervitermes bettonianus (Isoptera, Termitidae)

SummaryComparative fine structure shows no notable differences between the sternal gland ofTrinervitermes bettonianus workers secreting the trail pheromone, and the female dealate imagoes using the

Chemical Systematics of Termite Exocrine Secretions

This review will stress the comparative aspects of soldier-defense chemicals, worker trail-following and alate-calling pheromones, and cuticular hydrocarbons in assessing the relationships among taxa.

An unusual caste polymorphism of the sternal gland and its trail pheromone production in the termiteTrinervitermes bettonianus

SummaryThe sternal glands of the various castes inT. bettonianus differ drastically in size and potential trail-laying activity. In soldiers they are almost vestigial and without evident function. In

Polyethism in workers ofNasutitermes costalis (Holmgren)

Findings of colonies of Nasutitermes costalis in a montane rain forest in Puerto Rico indicated that third stage large workers returned much more readily to nest surfaces to make repairs following a breaching disturbance than other worker types.


The sternal gland of primitive termites of the genus Zootermopsis seems more organized than that of higher termites, in being comprised of three cell layers and studded with about 200 campaniform sensilla, which may be part of a feedback control system that determines the amount of pheromone deposited during trail laying.

Recruitment and orientation components in a termite trail pheromone

The F ' gene of C. rufzfacies is the first sex realizer with maternal effect analyzed by pole cell transplantations and behaves as germ-line-autonomous.