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Insects 2017, 8(3), 97; doi:10.3390/insects8030097

A Geometric Analysis of the Regulation of Inorganic Nutrient Intake by the Subterranean Termite Reticulitermes flavipes Kollar

Department of Biology, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO 63048, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Changlu Wang and Chow-Yang Lee
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 2 September 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Pest Management)
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Abstract

Most studies on termite food selection have focused on a single nutrient per choice, however, termites, like all animals, must balance multiple nutrients in their diet. While most studies that use multi-nutrient approaches focus on macromolecules, the ability to balance the intake of inorganic nutrients is also vital to organisms. In this study, we used the geometric framework to test the effects of multiple inorganic nutrients on termite feeding. We presented the subsets of Reticulitermes flavipes colonies with food enriched with varying in levels of KCl, MgSO4, and FePO4. Each trial varied two of the three nutrients while the third nutrient was kept constant. The amount of food consumed was measured over two weeks. The termites’ feeding patterns during the study suggested that they fed until they reached a limit for MgSO4. This result suggests that the termites were using the rule of compromise such that the termites would over consume KCl or FePO4 in order to avoid overeating MgSO4. Thus, the termite colonies are able to regulate the intake of inorganic nutrients, and by doing so, adjust their intake from multiple resources in order to maintain an intake target. View Full-Text
Keywords: termites; Reticulitermes flavipes; geometric framework; inorganic nutrients; feeding regulation termites; Reticulitermes flavipes; geometric framework; inorganic nutrients; feeding regulation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Judd, T.M.; Landes, J.R.; Ohara, H.; Riley, A.W. A Geometric Analysis of the Regulation of Inorganic Nutrient Intake by the Subterranean Termite Reticulitermes flavipes Kollar. Insects 2017, 8, 97.

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