Observations of behaviors in the worker caste of Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)
Whitman, Jefferson G.
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Termites were placed in an enclosed, darkened arena and videotaped for three 24-h periods. Treatments consisted of laboratory cultured colonies and equally sized randomly selected groups of field-collected worker termites. Specific individuals were scored over 12 15-min periods for a total of 3-h per full day of video-tape. The behavioral repertoire of workers included thirteen behaviors and display of each behavior was highly variable for each individual. Workers spent 72.8% of their time performing no visible activity, 6.3 of their time allogrooming, 4.9 autofeeding cellulose, 4.0 proctodeal trophallaxis, 4.2 stomodeal trophallaxis, 0.5 chewing regurgitated material, 0.3 chewing after allogrooming, 4.5 excavation of substrates and 0.7 autogrooming. Excavation of substrate was the only behavior that consistently displayed a binary pattern of performance. This is the first study to document division of labor in the lower termite R. flavipes.