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, 78 (3), 1976-9

Enemy Deterrence in the Recruitment Strategy of a Termite: Soldier-organized Foraging in Nasutitermes Costalis

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Enemy Deterrence in the Recruitment Strategy of a Termite: Soldier-organized Foraging in Nasutitermes Costalis

J F Traniello. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Abstract

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 trails composed of sternal gland pheromone. Additional soldiers are at first recruited in large numbers, and subsequently workers appear as the pheromone concentration increases. The role of the nasutes in the organization of foraging is extremely unusual for the soldier caste in social insects and appears to be a component of a foraging/defense system that controls the recruitment of foragers and effectively deters attacks by ants, the most fierce and important predators of termites.

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References

    1. Science. 1967 May 26;156(3778):1123-5 - PubMed

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