Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles indicate reproductive status in the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis

Juergen Liebig, Dorit Eliyahu, Colin S. Brent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reproductive division of labor in social insects is accompanied by the reliable communication of individual fertility status. A central question is whether there exists a general mechanism underlying this communication system across species. The best way to produce reliable information is through physiological markers tightly associated with reproductive status. Cuticular hydrocarbons exhibit this link to individual fertility in several species of ants, bees, and wasps, and we present the first evidence for such a system in a non-Hymenopteran eusocial species. In the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis, we identified four polyunsaturated alkenes, which only occur in significant amounts on reproductives that are actively producing gametes. These compounds are either absent or only occur in small amounts in soldiers, worker-like larvae, and secondary reproductives with inactive gonads. In contrast to Hymenopteran social insects, both sexes express the reproductive peaks. The reproductive-specific hydrocarbons may promote tending behavior by worker-like larvae or act as a primer pheromone, inhibiting the reproductive development of immature conspecifics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1799-1807
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume63
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Fingerprint

Zootermopsis nevadensis
reproductive status
social insects
termite
Isoptera
hydrocarbons
social insect
hydrocarbon
alkenes
polyethism
communications technology
fertility
larvae
communication (human)
pheromones
larva
gonads
Apoidea
germ cells
Formicidae

Keywords

  • Dampwood termite
  • Fertility signal
  • Isoptera
  • Queen pheromone
  • Reproductive inhibition
  • Social insects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles indicate reproductive status in the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis. / Liebig, Juergen; Eliyahu, Dorit; Brent, Colin S.

In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 63, No. 12, 10.2009, p. 1799-1807.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1088d9f5aff7451192afca8b20e7ce3e,
title = "Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles indicate reproductive status in the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis",
abstract = "Reproductive division of labor in social insects is accompanied by the reliable communication of individual fertility status. A central question is whether there exists a general mechanism underlying this communication system across species. The best way to produce reliable information is through physiological markers tightly associated with reproductive status. Cuticular hydrocarbons exhibit this link to individual fertility in several species of ants, bees, and wasps, and we present the first evidence for such a system in a non-Hymenopteran eusocial species. In the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis, we identified four polyunsaturated alkenes, which only occur in significant amounts on reproductives that are actively producing gametes. These compounds are either absent or only occur in small amounts in soldiers, worker-like larvae, and secondary reproductives with inactive gonads. In contrast to Hymenopteran social insects, both sexes express the reproductive peaks. The reproductive-specific hydrocarbons may promote tending behavior by worker-like larvae or act as a primer pheromone, inhibiting the reproductive development of immature conspecifics.",
keywords = "Dampwood termite, Fertility signal, Isoptera, Queen pheromone, Reproductive inhibition, Social insects",
author = "Juergen Liebig and Dorit Eliyahu and Brent, {Colin S.}",
year = "2009",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1007/s00265-009-0807-5",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "63",
pages = "1799--1807",
journal = "Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology",
issn = "0340-5443",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "12",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles indicate reproductive status in the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis

AU - Liebig, Juergen

AU - Eliyahu, Dorit

AU - Brent, Colin S.

PY - 2009/10

Y1 - 2009/10

N2 - Reproductive division of labor in social insects is accompanied by the reliable communication of individual fertility status. A central question is whether there exists a general mechanism underlying this communication system across species. The best way to produce reliable information is through physiological markers tightly associated with reproductive status. Cuticular hydrocarbons exhibit this link to individual fertility in several species of ants, bees, and wasps, and we present the first evidence for such a system in a non-Hymenopteran eusocial species. In the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis, we identified four polyunsaturated alkenes, which only occur in significant amounts on reproductives that are actively producing gametes. These compounds are either absent or only occur in small amounts in soldiers, worker-like larvae, and secondary reproductives with inactive gonads. In contrast to Hymenopteran social insects, both sexes express the reproductive peaks. The reproductive-specific hydrocarbons may promote tending behavior by worker-like larvae or act as a primer pheromone, inhibiting the reproductive development of immature conspecifics.

AB - Reproductive division of labor in social insects is accompanied by the reliable communication of individual fertility status. A central question is whether there exists a general mechanism underlying this communication system across species. The best way to produce reliable information is through physiological markers tightly associated with reproductive status. Cuticular hydrocarbons exhibit this link to individual fertility in several species of ants, bees, and wasps, and we present the first evidence for such a system in a non-Hymenopteran eusocial species. In the termite Zootermopsis nevadensis, we identified four polyunsaturated alkenes, which only occur in significant amounts on reproductives that are actively producing gametes. These compounds are either absent or only occur in small amounts in soldiers, worker-like larvae, and secondary reproductives with inactive gonads. In contrast to Hymenopteran social insects, both sexes express the reproductive peaks. The reproductive-specific hydrocarbons may promote tending behavior by worker-like larvae or act as a primer pheromone, inhibiting the reproductive development of immature conspecifics.

KW - Dampwood termite

KW - Fertility signal

KW - Isoptera

KW - Queen pheromone

KW - Reproductive inhibition

KW - Social insects

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77952671708&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77952671708&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s00265-009-0807-5

DO - 10.1007/s00265-009-0807-5

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:77952671708

VL - 63

SP - 1799

EP - 1807

JO - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

JF - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

SN - 0340-5443

IS - 12

ER -