Diterpene composition of defense secretion of four west AfricanTrinervitermes soldiers
The diterpene composition of the defensive secretions of minor and major soldiers is described for four sympatricTrinervitermes from the Ivory Coast. The degree of intra- and interspecific similarity between the secretions is assessed and related to available information on soldier behavior. A significant chemical dimorphism is observed between minor and major soldiers ofT. geminatus andT. togoensis. Both species build extensive foraging trails in the open air. During these excursions, the workers are protected by numerous minor soldiers, but only a few major ones. Internest comparison inT. geminatus suggests that the differences between minor and major soldiers is as large within a nest as between different nests. By, contrast, inT. trinervius andT. oeconomus both types of soldiers produce very similar secretions. The foraging habits of those species are far more cryptic. The first species builds earthen tunnels, and the second one forages in close proximity to its nest under cover of vegetation.
Key wordsTermites Isoptera Termitidae Trinervitermes defense secretion trinervitane diterpenes
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