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Effects of termiticide exposure on mutual interactions between the treated and untreated workers of the Asian subterranean termite Coptotermes gestroi

Authors

  • Kok-Boon Neoh,

    1. Urban Entomology Laboratory, Vector Control Research Unit, School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
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    • Present address: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, 46 Shimoadachi-cho, Yoshida, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606–8501 Japan

  • Ching-Chen Lee,

    1. Urban Entomology Laboratory, Vector Control Research Unit, School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
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  • Chow-Yang Lee

    Corresponding author
    1. Urban Entomology Laboratory, Vector Control Research Unit, School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
    • Correspondence to: Chow-Yang Lee, Urban Entomology Laboratory, Vector Control Research Unit, School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia.

      E-mail: chowyang@usm.my

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Mutual interactions, including reciprocal food sharing and grooming between chlorantraniliprole- and fipronil-treated, and untreated Asian subterranean termites, Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann), were examined using rubidium as a tracer. Two questions were addressed in this study: (1) After insecticide treatment, does the mutual interaction between termiticide-treated termites and untreated nestmates increase? (2) Does the nutritional status of both termiticide-treated termites and untreated nestmates affect the mutual interaction?

RESULTS

The comparative data suggested that chlorantraniliprole-treated termites were more regularly attended by untreated termites than the fipronil-treated termites. Mutual interaction between the chlorantraniliprole-treated termites and untreated termites was not affected by their nutritional status. A high level of rubidium was present in the reciprocal exchange from fipronil-treated termites to starved untreated termites, indicating that intoxication induced alimentary or anal fluids served as a food source for starved termites.

CONCLUSION

The results of the present study indicated that termites exposed to chlorantraniliprole were more likely to cease feeding and then undergo starvation. Thus, the treated termites were subject to intensive reciprocal food exchange and frequent attention from untreated nestmates. In the fipronil treatment, starvation status facilitated the reciprocal food exchange rate from treated termites to starved untreated termites. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry

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