Intraspecific Aggressive Behavior of the Subterranean Termite Microcerotermes diversus Silvestri (Isoptera: Termitidae)

Document Type : Research Article



Microcerotermes diversus is an extremely destructive structural wood pest in Khuzestan province, Southwest Iran. A better understanding of basic termite ecology is necessary in order to search for alternative termite control methods. The aim of this study was to investigate intraspecific aggressive behaviors among four colonies of the subterranean termite, M. diversus collected from two different locations in Ahwaz, Iran. Termite interactions over 24 h were examined in paired combinations of castes (soldiers versus soldiers, soldiers versus workers, and workers versus workers). Highest and lowest mortality were observed in paired combinations of soldiers versus workers and soldiers versus soldiers from different colonies, respectively. Termite agonistic behaviors indicated that interactions between different colonies within a species, as well as between different castes within a colony, are variable. Interactions between colonies of M. diversus from the same geographic area are complex, and these interactions could influence termite control strategies and because intra- and interspecific agonistic behavior could influence termite foraging patterns. Therefore, it can be suggested that intercolony aggression can be used to delineate the foraging territories of M. diversus colonies.