Physiological measures of vigor for the eastern subterranean termine, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)
Arquette, Timothy Joseph
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Termite populations vary in vigor (Lenz and Williams, 1980). This is a problem in laboratory trials when termites from weak populations decline in vigor or die before a study is completed (Carter and Smythe, 1972a). No method has been established for identifying healthy termites before placement in bioassay arenas. The current study was undertaken to consider predictive methods for describing the vigor of Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) termites stored in a laboratory under conditions similar to control groups in bioassay. These novel methods were based on measurements for levels of biomolecules (uric acid, soluble proteins, lipid, and glycogen), percent water content, and running speed. Also considered were two established, non-predictive methods for determining vigor, survivorship and consumption rate, as well as body weight, considered an indicator of declining termite populations. Novel measures of vigor were also applied to termites collected from field populations as a survey of levels under natural conditions. Low body water percentage was concluded to be an indicator of weak groups of termites.