Open-Air Litter Foraging in the Nasute Termite Longipeditermes longipes (Isoptera: Termitidae)

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Abstract

The Southeast Asian nasute termite Longipeditermes longipes forages on the open ground on leaf litter. Its monomorphic workers carry back food balls in their mandibles while dimorphic soldiers defensively surround the marching columns and the foraging patches. When mechanically disturbed, workers hide under the litter, whereas antennating soldiers face as closely as possible the source of disturbance. Foragers prefer the lower, nitrogen-rich layer of the litter. Soldier behavior and column organization (returning workers in the center lanes, outgoing workers in the two flanking lanes) are similar to those in the related genera Hospitalitermes and Lacessititermes, which, however, tend to forage above ground.

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