Projet personnel - Fouquet et al 2014 - additional material

Christian Jost

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Additional material for the paper:

Fouquet D., Costa-Leonardo A. M., Fournier R., Blanco S., Jost C. 2014. Coordination of construction behavior in the termite Procornitermes araujoi : structure is a stronger stimulus than volatile marking. Insectes Soc, 61, 253-264 (doi: 10.1007/s00040-014-0350-x)

(if you cannot download this paper’s pdf, please send an email to the corresponding author Christian Jost).

Procornitermes araujoi and some photos of its construction behavior

Workers and a soldier of Procornitermes araujoi on the construction site. © C. Jost
Soldier of the termite Procornitermes araujoi. Soldiers do not participate directly in construction, they just sit on pillars and screen the surroundings. © C. Jost
Workers fixing a hole while a soldier scans the surroundings. © C. Jost
A worker fixing a breach. © C. Jost
Workers repairing a breach in the nest wall. © C. Jost
Workers fixing a hole while a soldier scans the surroundings. © C. Jost

Typical nest architectures that emerge from the termites’ construction behavior

Procornitermes araujoi nests have a rather simple architecture with an underground chamber and tunnel network, and an above ground mound with many small interconnected chambers.

A small P. araujoi nest (two thirds are above ground) after excavation. © C. Jost
The same nest as above, but cut in two to see the chambers and their interconnections. © C. Jost
A large P. araujoi nest with many chambers, but still a rather homogeneous architecture. black/yellow squares are 5x5 cm, the black/yellow plastic band shows ground level. © C. Jost

How to detect soil pellet transports, an example construction experiment and the associated data set

This video is an extract of an experiment where the termites Procornitermes araujoi build a shelter after releasing them in a new, shelter-less environment. It shows how an observer can identify the sequence "picking up a pellet, transport, deposition" by first detecting the deposition site by the termites typical head screwing movement (yellow circle appears in the movie), then rewinding the video in order to detect the picking up location (second appearance of the yellow circle) and the transport path. It’s tedious, but it works ;-)

Movie of one of the experiments analyzed in the paper, with the resulting data file (feel free to re-analyze). To reduce the movie size the film has been re-encoded with a resolution of 480x270 instead of the original 960x540, the coordinates in the data filetherefore have to be divided by two in order to find the same position in the movie.


Christian Jost, Toulouse, 19/09/2014


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