Journal Article

Resource Partitioning in Two Sympatric Species of Subterranean Termites, <i>Reticulitermes flavipes</i> and <i>Reticulitermes hageni</i> (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

R. M. Houseman, R. E. Gold and B. M. Pawson

in Environmental Entomology

Published on behalf of Entomological Society of America

Volume 30, issue 4, pages 673-685
Published in print August 2001 | ISSN: 0046-225X
Published online November 2014 | e-ISSN: 1938-2936 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0046-225X-30.4.673

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Landscape patterns of foraging activity in sympatric species of subterranean termites were examined. Foraging activity was observed biweekly within a grid of wooden monitoring stations covering an area of ≈900 m2. The number and spatial distribution of active monitoring stations within the grid were used to determine seasonal patterns of foraging activity for each species. Gaps in the spatial distribution of occupied monitoring stations were quantified using the lacunarity index. Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) and Reticulitermes hageni Banks were observed within monitoring stations throughout the study. The number and spatial distribution of occupied monitoring stations varied seasonally. Seasonal patterns of activity and spatial distribution also varied between species. Lacunarity was highest for R. hageni during cool, wet months and highest for R. flavipes during hot, dry months. Seasonal changes in the number of active monitoring stations and their spatial distribution in the landscape were correlated with seasonal changes in soil temperature and soil moisture for both species. These patterns reflect differential degrees of adaptation to soil moisture and temperature extremes and could provide a mechanism for resource partitioning within the three-dimensional soil landscape.

Keywords: Reticulitermes flavipes; Reticulitermes hageni; subterranean termites; foraging; resource partitioning; landscapes

Journal Article.  6909 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Entomology

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