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Tunnel Orientation and Search Pattern Sequence of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

Entomological Society of America
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Abstract Foraging behavior of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, was studied in the laboratory by using two-dimensional foraging arenas containing multiple foraging sites. Within each arena, 16 foraging sites were arranged in a uniform grid pattern and foragers were introduced into the arena through a central initiation site. Chi-square analysis determined the frequency of tunnels was uniformly distributed around the perimeter of the initiation site but became significantly skewed toward the foraging sites at a distance where the foraging sites could be encountered. Tunnel distribution was similar whether wood was present or absent at the foraging sites, suggesting that foragers respond to structural anomalies in the substrate rather than simply to the presence of food. Also described is the generalized sequence of events as foragers tunnel throughout the arenas.

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