Both species eat sound dry wood and can co-exist in the same tree but, while drywood termite colonies contain only about 200 individuals and are confined to one tree, colonies of Coptotermes – Australia’s dominant wood-eating termite – contain around a million individuals, including thousands of aggressive soldiers, and can forage on up to 20 trees simultaneously.
“We already knew that chewing termites generate vibrations which they use to determine wood size and quality, so it seemed possible that one species could detect another using these vibrations,” CSIRO Entomology’s Dr Theo Evans said.
“We already knew that chewing termites generate vibrations which they use to determine wood size and quality, so it seemed possible that one species could detect another using these vibrations,” CSIRO Entomology’s Dr Theo Evans said.“We found that Cryptotermes could use vibration signals to distinguish between their own and Coptotermes individuals. They would even respond to recorded signals.
“This is the first time the ability to identify a different species using only their vibration signals has been identified in termites.
“Because vibration signals move rapidly through wood and can be detected from a distance, the vulnerable species have an eavesdropping advantage as they can detect their aggressive relatives without having to come into contact with them.”
Dr Evans said the advantage to Cryptotermes in avoiding Coptotermes was made very clear in one trial where the Coptotermes tunnelled through a 20mm block of wood and killed all the Cryptotermes.
Cryptotermes and the ‘tree piping’ Coptotermes are heartwood eaters and are among the few termites groups that attack buildings. Eighty-five percent of Australian trees are infested with Coptotermes.
Coptotermes enter trees through their roots and it is their ‘tree piping’ that produces the raw material for the didgeridoo.
This research – conducted in collaboration with Professor Joseph Lai at UNSW@ADFA and with the support of the Australian Research Council – was recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Julie Carter | EurekAlert!
Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter
An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News