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Hidden aggression in termite workers: plastic defensive behaviour dependent upon social context

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Title: Hidden aggression in termite workers: plastic defensive behaviour dependent upon social context
Authors: Ishikawa, Yuki Browse this author
Miura, Toru Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Keywords: aggression
behavioural plasticity
colony defence
Hodotermopsis sjostedti
social interaction
Issue Date: Mar-2012
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal Title: Animal Behaviour
Volume: 83
Issue: 3
Start Page: 737
End Page: 745
Publisher DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.12.022
Abstract: Social insect colonies are self-organized systems that respond to changes in environmental conditions by altering the relative proportions of certain castes or individuals engaged in specific tasks. While termites are known to regulate the ratio of morphologically specialized soldiers in response to the proportion of nestmate castes, soldier-differentiation process requires a relatively long time to be accomplished. Consequently, other plastic and flexible mechanisms are considered to be employed as one of the various defensive strategies in termites. In this study, the defensive behaviours of soldiers, pseudergates (workers) and reproductives of the damp-wood termite Hodotermopsis sjostedti were quantified. When individuals of the caste were exposed to an intruder, soldiers exhibited the most vigorous defensive behaviour, followed by pseudergates and then reproductives. While the aggression levels of soldiers and reproductives were independent of the accompanying castes, pseudergate aggression was more plastic and depended on the other castes present. When paired with reproductives, pseudergates exhibited high levels of aggression toward enemies. However, pseudergate aggression levels remained low when they were paired with soldiers, suggesting that pseudergates moderated their defensive behaviour depending on social context. Plasticity with respect to social behaviours may facilitate rapid and flexible responses required for colony defence.
Type: article (author version)
Appears in Collections:環境科学院・地球環境科学研究院 (Graduate School of Environmental Science / Faculty of Environmental Earth Science) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

Submitter: 三浦 徹

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