, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 249–251 | Cite as

Nitrogen fixation by intact colonies of the termite Nasutitermes corniger

  • G. D. Prestwich
  • B. L. Bentley


Whole colonies of the arboreal termite Nasutitermes corniger (lsoptera, Termitidae, Nasutitermitinae) from a Costa Rican rainforest were assayed for nitrogen fixation by the acetylene reduction method, using a 21-1 test chamber. Nitrogenase activity was positively correlated with termite biomass for the nexts examined, providing the experiment was performed within 2 h of removal of the colony from the field. Total colony fixation rates of 0.25–1.0 mg N per colony per hour indicate a nitrogen doubling time of 200–600 days, thereby making possible complete replacement of the nest population 1–2 times per year.


Nitrogen Biomass Acetylene Nitrogen Fixation Doubling Time 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. D. Prestwich
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. L. Bentley
    • 1
  1. 1.La Selva Field Station of the Organization for Tropical StudiesHeredia ProvinceCosta Rica
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryState University of New YorkStony Brook, Long IslandUSA

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