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Foraging Populations and Distances of the Desert Subterranean Termite, Heterotermes aureus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), Associated with Structures in Southern Arizona

Baker, P.B., Haverty, M.I.
Journal of economic entomology 2007 v.100 no.4 pp. 1381-1390
Rhinotermitidae, subterranean termites, foraging, population size, insect cuticle, hydrocarbons, insect colonies, population density, soldier insects, mark-recapture studies, desert insects, Arizona
Mark-release-recapture studies were conducted on foraging populations of Heterotermes aureus (Snyder) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) associated with three structures in Tucson, AZ. Foraging population estimates ranged from 64,913 to 307,284 termites by using the Lincoln Index and from 75,501 to 313,251 termites using the weighted mean model. The maximum distance between monitors ranged from 26 to 65 m, with minimum total foraging distance ranging between 297 and 2,427 m. Characterizations of the cuticular hydrocarbons of foraging groups were qualitatively identical. Quantitative similarities within sites and differences among sites suggested that each site was occupied by a single colony during the sampling period. The colony at each site had a proportion of soldiers (0.135, 0.069, and 0.040) that was significantly different from the colonies at each of the other sites. From this study, we question the assumption of equal mixing of marked H. aureus foragers throughout the occupied collars around structures.