Journal of Tropical Ecology

Research Article

Mound structure of the fungus-growing termite Macrotermes gilvus in Thailand

Tetsushi Inouea1, Pisoot Vijarnsorna2 and Takuya Abea1

a1 Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Shimosakamoto, Ohtsu 520-01, Japan

a2 Department of Land Development, Bangkok, Thailand

ABSTRACT

The change of mound structure of the fungus growing termite, Macrotermes gilvus, which has no clear air passage system in the mound, was examined in relation to the mound growth in a rubber plantation of southern Thailand. The nest proper consisted of the hive with a royal chamber and nursery, and diffused chambers with fungus combs. The location of the hive became higher with the growth of the mound. Therefore, colonies with a very large mound utilize only the upper mound part and this may be due to the lack of air passage systems in this species. A colony with a very large mound is not in reality commensurately large in colony size and this may be the reason why the density of huge mounds of M. gilvus in Thailand is much higher than that of Macrotermes in Africa.

(Accepted July 15 1996)