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1st International Electronic Conference on Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution
Nest-building and
wood consumption
dynamics :
the underground architecture of two
Reticulitermes species
DR. BERVILLE LAURENCE
DR. DARROUZET ERIC
IRBI, UMR CNRS 7261, Université de Tours,
Parc Grandmont, 37200 Tours, France
laurence.berville@univ-tours.fr & eric.darrouzet@univ-tours.fr
Berville ©
Introduction
Animals can create controlled microhabitats using self-made structures,
which can provide benefits in terms of defense, shelter, controlled microclimatic conditions
[ air composition, temperature and humidity ] structure, and, in some cases, food.
Indeed, certain subterranean termite species also consume the wood in which they live,
excellent models for studying nest development as they must trade-off between food
consumption and environmental homeostasis
By controlling the number and size
of both tunnels and chambers.
Introduction
An important requirement for the management of invasive
species is to identify
within a new environment,
biological and ecological factors that influence
their ability to establish and spread
and how they present a significant advantage against native
species.
Mora ©
Mora ©
Mora ©
R.H.
PLANIFIER
Breeding
system
Social
organization
Behavior
Reticulitermes flavipes
and R. grassei
• R. grassei is native to southwestern Europe (France
and Spain).
Introduction
• R. flavipes, is an invasive species that is native to the
eastern United States
• interspecific competition show that R. flavipes is
dominant over R. grassei
• R. flavipes forage over a greater distance than R.
grassei colonies
• R. flavipes colonies produce more neotenics than R.
grassei colonies (Leniaud et al. 2011).
Reticulitermes flavipes and R. grassei are subterranean termite
species which live in sympatry along the French Atlantic coast
(Perdereau et al. 2010, 2011, 2015)
Questions
1) wood consumption would be greater in the invasive
species (to feed numerous individuals and more
particularly neotenics),
(2) R. flavipes workers would have greater capacities to
build the nest,
(3) Nest structures from both species could present some
differences in size and shape.
In this study we wanted to know whether the construction of the
nest could participate to the invasive success of R. flavipes.
More specifically, we hypothesize:
- nest construction dynamics,
- wood consumption,
- interspecific variation.
Mora ©
Materials and methods
Colonies were analyzed by X-rays tomography
using OsiriX software
• Parameters : 120 kev, 180 mAs
• Thickness : 0.67 mm
• Increment : 0.33 mm
=>> Phillips Brillance CT 40 medical scanner
• 5 colonies / species
• 900 workers / colony in a box (18 x 12 x 7 cm)
• Pinus wood piece (12 x 4 x 4 cm)
• 2 mm of sand
Boxes were scanned at regular intervals :
2D views of a wooden piece with living termites
Before
T0 13
days
T1 20
days
T2 51
days
T3 65
days
T4 100
days
T5 202
days
T6 258
days
T7
Berville ©
Darrouzet ©
Two and Three-dimensional images of nests, where sand-based and wood-based structures can be distinguished
Results
Berville ©
Berville ©
Berville ©
Berville ©
Nest creation Results
The first exterior
tunnels, made of sand,
were observed after 51
days; these afforded
protection to the
termites.
Wood consumption
At each time point, the
two termite species had
equivalent chamber
numbers
There did not appear to be
interspecific differences in
wood consumption (in cm3)
over time
Wood consumption
Chamber number
was related to the
percentage of
wood volume
consumed in both
species
During the first phase, a small
number of new chambers
were made.
During the second phase,
chamber creation accelerated.
During the third phase, R. flavipes chamber number
reached a plateau, while R. grassei have slightly decreased.
Pillars
Floors
R. grassei.
Results : Interior structures
Walls
Only R. flavipes generate
and modify interior
architectural structures
Berville ©
Results : Interior structures
R. flavipes.
At T7, a mean of 14.5 ± 7
interior structures was present
in R. flavipes nests.
Results
R. flavipes.
Although there was marked
intercolonial variability, there
was a strong correlation
between the number of
interior structures and the
number of chambers (r² =
0.974).
Mora ©
R. Flavipes could adjust interior nest
architecture by adding and modifying the
number of interior structures, depending on
chamber number or wood consumption.
Ceilings and floors appeared in the largest
chambers, and some old entrances were
sealed off.
Conclusion
• X-ray tomography allowed the first detailed quantitative descriptions of Reticulitermes
nests dynamics
• no interspecific differences in the volume of wood consumed or in the number of
chambers created
• only R. flavipes built interior structures
Thank you
Mora ©

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Nest-building and wood consumption dynamics : the underground architecture of two Reticulitermes species

  • 1. 1st International Electronic Conference on Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution Nest-building and wood consumption dynamics : the underground architecture of two Reticulitermes species DR. BERVILLE LAURENCE DR. DARROUZET ERIC IRBI, UMR CNRS 7261, Université de Tours, Parc Grandmont, 37200 Tours, France laurence.berville@univ-tours.fr & eric.darrouzet@univ-tours.fr Berville ©
  • 2. Introduction Animals can create controlled microhabitats using self-made structures, which can provide benefits in terms of defense, shelter, controlled microclimatic conditions [ air composition, temperature and humidity ] structure, and, in some cases, food. Indeed, certain subterranean termite species also consume the wood in which they live, excellent models for studying nest development as they must trade-off between food consumption and environmental homeostasis By controlling the number and size of both tunnels and chambers.
  • 3. Introduction An important requirement for the management of invasive species is to identify within a new environment, biological and ecological factors that influence their ability to establish and spread and how they present a significant advantage against native species. Mora © Mora © Mora ©
  • 4. R.H. PLANIFIER Breeding system Social organization Behavior Reticulitermes flavipes and R. grassei • R. grassei is native to southwestern Europe (France and Spain). Introduction • R. flavipes, is an invasive species that is native to the eastern United States • interspecific competition show that R. flavipes is dominant over R. grassei • R. flavipes forage over a greater distance than R. grassei colonies • R. flavipes colonies produce more neotenics than R. grassei colonies (Leniaud et al. 2011). Reticulitermes flavipes and R. grassei are subterranean termite species which live in sympatry along the French Atlantic coast (Perdereau et al. 2010, 2011, 2015)
  • 5. Questions 1) wood consumption would be greater in the invasive species (to feed numerous individuals and more particularly neotenics), (2) R. flavipes workers would have greater capacities to build the nest, (3) Nest structures from both species could present some differences in size and shape. In this study we wanted to know whether the construction of the nest could participate to the invasive success of R. flavipes. More specifically, we hypothesize: - nest construction dynamics, - wood consumption, - interspecific variation. Mora ©
  • 6. Materials and methods Colonies were analyzed by X-rays tomography using OsiriX software • Parameters : 120 kev, 180 mAs • Thickness : 0.67 mm • Increment : 0.33 mm =>> Phillips Brillance CT 40 medical scanner • 5 colonies / species • 900 workers / colony in a box (18 x 12 x 7 cm) • Pinus wood piece (12 x 4 x 4 cm) • 2 mm of sand Boxes were scanned at regular intervals : 2D views of a wooden piece with living termites Before T0 13 days T1 20 days T2 51 days T3 65 days T4 100 days T5 202 days T6 258 days T7 Berville © Darrouzet ©
  • 7. Two and Three-dimensional images of nests, where sand-based and wood-based structures can be distinguished Results Berville © Berville © Berville © Berville ©
  • 8. Nest creation Results The first exterior tunnels, made of sand, were observed after 51 days; these afforded protection to the termites.
  • 9. Wood consumption At each time point, the two termite species had equivalent chamber numbers There did not appear to be interspecific differences in wood consumption (in cm3) over time
  • 10. Wood consumption Chamber number was related to the percentage of wood volume consumed in both species During the first phase, a small number of new chambers were made. During the second phase, chamber creation accelerated. During the third phase, R. flavipes chamber number reached a plateau, while R. grassei have slightly decreased.
  • 11. Pillars Floors R. grassei. Results : Interior structures Walls Only R. flavipes generate and modify interior architectural structures Berville ©
  • 12. Results : Interior structures R. flavipes. At T7, a mean of 14.5 ± 7 interior structures was present in R. flavipes nests.
  • 13. Results R. flavipes. Although there was marked intercolonial variability, there was a strong correlation between the number of interior structures and the number of chambers (r² = 0.974). Mora ©
  • 14. R. Flavipes could adjust interior nest architecture by adding and modifying the number of interior structures, depending on chamber number or wood consumption. Ceilings and floors appeared in the largest chambers, and some old entrances were sealed off. Conclusion • X-ray tomography allowed the first detailed quantitative descriptions of Reticulitermes nests dynamics • no interspecific differences in the volume of wood consumed or in the number of chambers created • only R. flavipes built interior structures