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Judith Korb, Xavier Belles
Termites are social Dictyoptera that evolved eusociality independently from social Hymenoptera. They are characterized by unique developmental plasticity that is the basis of caste differentiation and social organization. As developmental plasticity is a result of endocrine regulation, in order to understand the evolution of termite sociality it is helpful to compare the endocrine underpinning of development between termites and cockroaches. Nijhout and Wheeler (1982) proposed that varying JH titers determine caste differentiation in termites...
August 2017: Current Opinion in Insect Science
Colin M Brand, Linda F Marchant, Klaree J Boose, Frances J White, Tabatha M Rood, Audra Meinelt
Humans exhibit population level handedness for the right hand; however, the evolution of this behavioral phenotype is poorly understood. Here, we compared the laterality of a simple task (grooming) and a complex task (tool use) to investigate whether increasing task difficulty elicited individual hand preference among a group of captive bonobos (Pan paniscus). Subjects were 17 bonobos housed at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Laterality of grooming was recorded using group scans; tool use was recorded using all-occurrence sampling...
August 12, 2017: Folia Primatologica; International Journal of Primatology
Garima Kakkar, Nan-Yao Su
BACKGROUND: The lethal time of a chitin synthesis inhibitor (CSI) baited colony of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki largely depends on the time for workers to molt after consuming a lethal dose. Given that termite molting biology can regulate the time for elimination of a baited termite colony, the objective of this study was to determine how the fasting period (an important element of worker's molting cycle) and the acquisition of lethal dose can impact the total elimination period for a colony...
August 11, 2017: Pest Management Science
Iago Bueno da Silva, Ana Maria Costa-Leonardo
The hypopharynx morphology in workers, pseudergates, and soldiers was described in six families of Isoptera using scanning electronic microscopy. This is the first comparative study to detail the hypopharynx among different species of termites, and included 4 one-piece type (OP) and 9 multiple-pieces type termites (MP). The results showed different arrangements of the hypopharynx trichomes, with fewer of these structures in the frontal region of the hypopharynx in pseudergates and soldiers of OP termites. These characteristics did not apply to Serritermes serrifer, since its pseudergates displayed a large quantity of trichomes on the frontal surface...
July 21, 2017: Micron: the International Research and Review Journal for Microscopy
Abraão Almeida Santos, Bruna Maria Santos de Oliveira, Carlisson Ramos Melo, Ana Paula Santana Lima, Emile Dayara Rabelo Santana, Arie Fitzgerald Blank, Marcelo Coutinho Picanço, Ana Paula Albano Araújo, Paulo Fellipe Cristaldo, Leandro Bacci
The drywood termite Cryptotermes brevis (Walker, 1853) (Kalotermitidae) is one of the most important wood structural pest in the world. Substances from the secondary metabolism of plants (e.g., essential oils) have been considered an environmentally safer form of control for urban pests, such as termites. In the present study, we analyzed the lethal and sub-lethal effects of essential oil of Lippia sidoides and its major components on C. brevis pseudergates in two routes of exposure (contact and fumigation)...
August 1, 2017: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Katewadee Boonyapakron, Aritsara Jaruwat, Benjamas Liwnaree, Thidarat Nimchua, Verawat Champreda, Penchit Chitnumsub
In the pulp bleaching industry, enzymes with robust activity at high pH and temperatures are desirable for facilitating the pre-bleaching process with simplified processing and minimal use of chlorinated compounds. To engineer an enzyme for this purpose, we determined the crystal structure of the Xyn12.2 xylanase, a xylan-hydrolyzing enzyme derived from the termite gut symbiont metagenome, as the basis for structure-based protein engineering to improve Xyn12.2 stability in high heat and alkaline conditions...
July 31, 2017: Journal of Biotechnology
Lihui Xuan, Dongxue Hui, Wanli Cheng, Andrew H H Wong, Guangping Han, Wei Khong Tan, Carlson A D Tawi
The effects of alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) and zinc borate (ZB) on the resistance of corn stalk fiber (CSF)-reinforced high-density polyethylene (HDPE) composites to biodegradation were examined. Both biocides could inhibit termites, mold fungi, and wood-decay fungi, even at high CSF formulations (i.e., 60%). Additionally, ACQ enhanced the resistance of the composite materials to certain biotic stresses better than ZB. The CSF/HDPE composites treated with ACQ at the 3.0% level exhibited a superior performance against termites, white rot fungi, and brown rot fungi...
July 12, 2017: Materials
Rudolf H Scheffrahn, Tiago F Carrijo, Anthony C Postle, Francesco Tonini
Disjunctitermes insularisgen. n. & sp. n. is described from workers collected on Guadeloupe and in Peru and is the first soldierless termite found on a deep-water island. As with many soldierless and soil-feeding termite species, the enteric valve morphology is an essential diagnostic character of D. insularis. The D. insularis sequence cluster, derived from a barcode analysis with twelve other described genera of New World Apicotermitinae, is well resolved. Results of a stochastic dynamic spread model suggest that the occurrence of D...
2017: ZooKeys
Christopher P Mattison, Taruna Khurana, Matthew R Tarver, Christopher B Florane, Casey C Grimm, Suman B Pakala, Carrie B Cottone, Claudia Riegel, Yvette Bren-Mattison, Jay E Slater
Cockroach allergens can lead to serious allergy and asthma symptoms. Termites are evolutionarily related to cockroaches, cohabitate in human dwellings, and represent an increasing pest problem in the United States. The Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) is one of the most common species in the southern United States. Several assays were used to determine if C. formosanus termite proteins cross-react with cockroach allergens. Expressed sequence tag and genomic sequencing results were searched for homology to cockroach allergens using BLAST 2...
2017: PloS One
Mariana Eloy de Amorim, Thomas W Schoener, Guilherme Ramalho Chagas Cataldi Santoro, Anna Carolina Ramalho Lins, Jonah Piovia-Scott, Reuber Albuquerque Brandão
Rapid adaptive changes can result from the drastic alterations humans impose on ecosystems. For example, flooding large areas for hydroelectric dams converts mountaintops into islands and leaves surviving populations in a new environment. We report differences in morphology and diet of the termite-eating gecko Gymnodactylus amarali between five such newly created islands and five nearby mainland sites located in the Brazilian Cerrado, a biodiversity hotspot. Mean prey size and dietary prey-size breadth were larger on islands than mainlands, expected because four larger lizard species that also consume termites, but presumably prefer larger prey, went extinct on the islands...
August 15, 2017: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Lauren Seabrooks, Longqin Hu
Nature has been the source of life-changing and -saving medications for centuries. Aspirin, penicillin and morphine are prime examples of Nature׳s gifts to medicine. These discoveries catalyzed the field of natural product drug discovery which has mostly focused on plants. However, insects have more than twice the number of species and entomotherapy has been in practice for as long as and often in conjunction with medicinal plants and is an important alternative to modern medicine in many parts of the world...
July 2017: Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica. B
Wonki Lee, DaeEun Kim
Many kinds of bio-inspired tasks have been tested with swarm robotics and task partitioning is one of challenging subjects. In nature, it is well known that some colonies of social insects such as honeybees, termites, and ants use task partitioning strategies for their survival. In this paper, we demonstrate an effect of task partitioning strategy called bucket brigade that uses the direct transfer of materials or food between a pair of workers. We propose a task partitioning strategy based on moving speeds of agents for the foraging task...
July 27, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Yuki Mitaka, Naoki Mori, Kenji Matsuura
Division of labour in eusocial insects is characterized by efficient communication systems based on pheromones. Among such insects, termites have evolved specialized sterile defenders, called soldiers. Because they are incapable of feeding themselves, it has been suggested that soldiers are sustained by workers and emit the pheromone arresting workers. However, such a soldier pheromone has not been identified in any termite species, and the details of the soldier-worker interaction remain to be explored. Here, we identified a soldier-specific volatile sesquiterpene as a worker arrestant, which also acts as a primer pheromone regulating soldier differentiation and fungistatic agent in a termite Reticulitermes speratus Chemical analyses revealed that (-)-β-elemene is the major component of soldier extract, and its authentic standard exhibited arrestant activity to workers and inhibited the differentiation from workers to soldiers...
July 26, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Jian Chen
Headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is commonly used in analyzing insect volatiles. To improve the detection of volatiles in insects, a freeze-thaw method was applied to insect samples before the HS-SPME-GC-MS analysis. Insect samples were first frozen at -80 °C for 10 min and then thawed at 25 °C for 5 min before SPME extraction was performed. The freeze-thaw method clearly improved the detection of volatile compounds for all six tested insect species, including red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, black imported fire ants, Solenopsis richteri Forel, little black ants, Monomorium minimum (Buckley), pharaoh ants, Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus), eastern subterranean termites, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), and spotted lady beetles, Coleomegilla maculate De Geer...
August 1, 2017: Analytical Chemistry
Gillian H Gile, Erick R James, Vera Tai, James T Harper, Trevor L Merrell, Vittorio Boscaro, Filip Husník, Rudolf H Scheffrahn, Patrick J Keeling
Spirotrichonymphea is a class of hypermastigote parabasalids defined by their spiral rows of many flagella. They are obligate hindgut symbionts of lower termites. Despite more than 100 years of morphological and ultrastructural study, the group remains poorly characterised by molecular data and the phylogenetic positions and taxonomic validity of most genera remain in question. The genus Spirotrichonympha has been reported to inhabit several termite genera, including Reticulitermes, Coptotermes, and Hodotermopsis...
July 15, 2017: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Sameh Samir Ali, Jian Wu, Rongrong Xie, Feng Zhou, Jianzhong Sun, Miao Huang
The effective fermentation of xylose remains an intractable challenge in bioethanol industry. The relevant xylanase enzyme is also in a high demand from industry for several biotechnological applications that inevitably in recent times led to many efforts for screening some novel microorganisms for better xylanase production and fermentation performance. Recently, it seems that wood-feeding termites can truly be considered as highly efficient natural bioreactors. The highly specialized gut systems of such insects are not yet fully realized, particularly, in xylose fermentation and xylanase production to advance industrial bioethanol technology as well as industrial applications of xylanases...
2017: PloS One
Jairo Calderari de Oliveira Junior, Raphael Moreira Beirigo, Mariane Chiapini, Alexandre Ferreira do Nascimento, Eduardo Guimarães Couto, Pablo Vidal-Torrado
Vegetated mounds are an important geomorphological feature of the Pantanal, where the influence of floods dictates not only hydropedological processes, but also the distribution and ecology of the flora and fauna. This work aimed to identify factors and processes that influence the formation and spatial distribution of the mounds, which are commonly associated with termite activity. In order to characterize pedological processes, macro and micro morphological descriptions, satellite image interpretation, dating of the sandy sedimentary material using OSL and carbon dating using 14C AMS were carried out...
2017: PloS One
Renate Radek, Katja Meuser, Jürgen F H Strassert, Oguzhan Arslan, Anika Teßmer, Jan Šobotník, David Sillam-Dussès, Ricardo A Nink, Andreas Brune
The guts of lower termites are inhabited by host-specific consortia of cellulose-digesting flagellate protists. In this first investigation of the symbionts of the family Serritermitidae, we found that Glossotermes oculatus and Serritermes serrifer each harbor similar parabasalid morphotypes: large Pseudotrichonympha-like cells, medium-sized Leptospironympha-like cells with spiraled bands of flagella, and small Hexamastix-like cells; oxymonadid flagellates were absent. Despite their morphological resemblance to Pseudotrichonympha and Leptospironympha, a SSU rRNA-based phylogenetic analysis identified the two larger, trichonymphid flagellates as deep-branching sister groups of Teranymphidae, with Leptospironympha sp...
July 6, 2017: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Nikita Zachariah, Aritra Das, Tejas G Murthy, Renee M Borges
Animal constructions such as termite mounds have received scrutiny by architects, structural engineers, soil scientists and behavioural ecologists but their basic building blocks remain uncharacterized and the criteria used for material selection unexplored. By conducting controlled experiments on Odontotermes obesus termites, we characterize the building blocks of termite mounds and determine the key elements defining material choice and usage by these accomplished engineers. Using biocement and a self-organized process, termites fabricate, transport and assemble spherical unitary structures called boluses that have a bimodal size distribution, achieving an optimal packing solution for mound construction...
July 5, 2017: Scientific Reports
Aram Mikaelyan, Claire L Thompson, Katja Meuser, Hao Zheng, Pinki Rani, Rudy Plarre, Andreas Brune
Bacteria of the class Endomicrobia form a deep-branching clade in the Elusimicrobia phylum. They are found almost exclusively in the intestinal tract of animals and are particularly abundant in many termites, where they reside as intracellular symbionts in the cellulolytic gut flagellates. Although small populations of putatively free-living lineages have been detected in faunated and flagellate-free hosts, the evolutionary origin of the endosymbionts is obscured by the limited amount of phylogenetic information provided by the 16S rRNA gene fragment amplified with Endomicrobia-specific primers...
July 5, 2017: Environmental Microbiology Reports
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