Assessing Aggressive Behaviors of Subterranean Termites (​Reticulitermes sp.) ​and Red Imported Fire Ants (​Solenopsis invicta​)

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Abstract Summary

In this study, we focus on the interaction of termites and ants, whether there is one free-moving ant, one restrained ant or if a free moving and restraint fire ant is present in the same environment. Three parameters—termite colony, presence of a soldier termite, and whether the ants were living or dead—were tested to assess aggressive behaviors in termites. The behaviors used to assess aggression are the number and latency of ant-termite contacts, the frequency of termites biting ants, the latency and duration of termites latching onto ants, and rapid oscillatory vibration (ROV) in termites. We test our hypothesis by using a total of four fire ants, two in each petri dish per session paired with ten termites. Termintes are paired with two fire ants (one controlled and one experimental). Each fire ant will be placed in either condition; free moving, restrained, dead, and both dead, and restrained. The goal of this project is to develop a measure of aggression in social insects at the colony level and ultimately to find the genes correlated with aggression in termites.

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