The Behavioral Continuum

Striking ethological similarities in cockroaches and termites have been recognized since the early 1900s (Wheeler, 1904). These behavioral patterns probably arose in the stem group that gave rise to both taxa (Rau, 1941; Cornwell, 1968) and may therefore serve as points of departure when hypothesizing a behavioral profile of a termite ancestor. The most frequently cited behaviors shared by cockroaches and termites are those that regulate response to the physical environment. Both taxa are, in general, strongly thigmotactic (Fig. 3.7), adverse to light, and associated with warm temperatures and high humidity (Wheeler, 1904; Pettit, 1940; Ledoux, 1945). Additional shared behaviors include the use of con-specifics as food sources (Tables 4.6 and 8.4), the ability to transport food (Chapter 4), aggregation behavior, elaborate brood care (Chapter 8), hygienic behavior, al-logrooming (Chapter 5), and antennal cropping, discussed below. The remaining behaviors common to Blat-taria and Isoptera fall into one of two broad domains that we address in the following sections: those related to communication (vibrational alarm behavior, trail following, kin recognition) and those associated with nesting and building behavior (burrowing, substrate manipulation, behavior during excretion).

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Oplan Termites

Oplan Termites

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