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The trail-following pheromone of the termite Serritermes serrifer

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The Neotropical family Serritermitidae is a monophyletic group of termites including two genera, Serritermes and Glossotermes, with different way-of-life, the former being the sole obligatory inquiline among “lower” termites, while the latter is a single-site nester feeding on dry rotten red wood. Like the most advanced termite’s family, the Termitidae, the Serritermitidae is an inner group of the paraphyletic family “Rhinotermitidae”, but unlike the Termitidae, it has been poorly studied so far. In this study, we bring new insights into the chemical ecology of this key taxon. We studied the trail-following pheromone of Serritermes serrifer and we identified (10Z,13Z)-nonadeca-10,13-dien-2-one as the only component of the trail-following pheromone of this termite species, as it is the case in Glossotermes, the other genus belonging to Serritermitidae. This result makes the family Serritermitidae clearly distinct from other Rhinotermitidae, such as the termites Psammotermes and Prorhinotermes, that use (3Z,6Z,8E)-dodeca-3,6,8-trien-1-ol and/or neocembrene as trail-following pheromones.
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Chemoecology (2021) 31:11–17
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00049-020-00324-2
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
The trail‑following pheromone ofthetermite Serritermes serrifer
DavidSillam‑Dussès1,2· JaromírHradecký3· PetrStiblik3· HélidaFerreiradaCunha4· TiagoF.Carrijo5·
MichaelJ.Lacey6· ThomasBourguignon2,7· JanŠobotník2,3
Received: 22 March 2020 / Accepted: 12 September 2020 / Published online: 25 September 2020
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
Abstract
The Neotropical family Serritermitidae is a monophyletic group of termites including two genera, Serritermes and Glos-
sotermes, with different way-of-life, the former being the sole obligatory inquiline among “lower” termites, while the latter
is a single-site nester feeding on dry rotten red wood. Like the most advanced termite’s family, the Termitidae, the Ser-
ritermitidae is an inner group of the paraphyletic family “Rhinotermitidae”, but unlike the Termitidae, it has been poorly
studied so far. In this study, we bring new insights into the chemical ecology of this key taxon. We studied the trail-following
pheromone of Serritermes serrifer and we identified (10Z,13Z)-nonadeca-10,13-dien-2-one as the only component of the trail-
following pheromone of this termite species, as it is the case in Glossotermes, the other genus belonging to Serritermitidae.
This result makes the family Serritermitidae clearly distinct from other Rhinotermitidae, such as the termites Psammotermes
and Prorhinotermes, that use (3Z,6Z,8E)-dodeca-3,6,8-trien-1-ol and/or neocembrene as trail-following pheromones.
Keywords Termite· Serritermes· Blattodea· Nonadecadienone· Inquiline· Trail-following pheromone
Introduction
Termites are social cockroaches and their closest living rela-
tive is the wood roach Cryptocercus (Lo etal. 2000; Inward
etal. 2007; Bourguignon etal. 2015; Buček etal. 2019).
Compared to their solitary cockroach relatives, the eusocial
termites use many scent signals to orient themselves, with
trail-following pheromones being the most studied means
of communication (Sillam-Dussès 2010, 2011; Bordereau
and Pasteels 2011). Termites are traditionally split into
nine families (Krishna etal. 2013), two of which are para-
phyletic, Archotermopsidae in respect to Hodotermitidae,
and Rhinotermitidae in respect to Serritermitidae and Ter-
mitidae (Bourguignon etal. 2015, 2017). The Neotropical
Serritermitidae, erected to family level by Emerson (1965),
originally contained only Serritermes serrifer. Glossotermes
oculatus, originally considered as the closest relative of
Psammotermes (Emerson 1950), was later transferred into
the Serritermitidae (Cancello and De Souza 2005). The sis-
ter relationship between Serritermes and Glossotermes was
consistently supported by several molecular phylogenies (Lo
etal. 2004; Bourguignon etal. 2015; Buček etal. 2019).
Both Serritermitidae genera are rare termites, difficult to
study, which explains the limited knowledge available about
them. Glossotermes is of a larger body size and may live in
CHEMOECOLOGY
Communicated by Marko Rohlfs.
David Sillam-Dussès and Jaromír Hradecký: Co-first authors.
* David Sillam-Dussès
drdavidsd@hotmail.com
1 Laboratory ofExperimental andComparative Ethology UR
4443, University Sorbonne Paris Nord, Villetaneuse, France
2 Faculty ofTropical AgriSciences, Czech University ofLife
Sciences, Prague, CzechRepublic
3 Faculty ofForestry andWood Sciences, Czech University
ofLife Sciences, Prague, CzechRepublic
4 Universidade Estadual de Goiás, Câmpus Henrique Santilo,,
Anápolis, GO, Brazil
5 Centro de Ciências Naturais E Humanas, Universidade
Federal doABC, SãoBernardodoCampo, SP, Brazil
6 CSIRO National Collections andMarine Infrastructure,
G.P.O. Box1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
7 Okinawa Institute ofScience andTechnology Graduate
University, 1919–1 Tancha, Onna-son, Okinawa904–0495,
Japan
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