Extreme Intraspecific Chemical Variability in Soldier Defense Secretions of Allopatric and Sympatric Colonies ofLongipeditermes Longipes

J Chem Ecol. 1984 Jun;10(6):929-44. doi: 10.1007/BF00987974.


The chemical defense secretions of major and minor soldiers of over 18 colonies of the primitive glue-squirting nasute termiteLongipeditermes longipes (Isoptera, Termitidae, Nasutitermitinae) were analyzed chormatographically. The colonies, collected from four rainforest sites in peninsular Malaysia, showed monoterpene patterns rich in pinenes and limonene but with few quantitative differences between colonies. In marked contrast, the diterpene chemistry is high variable, and includes tricyclic (trinervitane), tetracyclic (rippertane), bicyclic (secotrinervitane), and a new spirotetracyclic (longipane) skeleton. Three new natural products are included in this remarkable and unprecedented example of structural diversity among different colonies of a single species.