The role of storage proteins in colony-founding in termites

M. L. Johnston, D. E. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hexameric storage proteins are widespread in insects and provide a source of amino acids when demand is high and intake is limited, such as during metamorphosis. We investigated the occurrence of storage protein levels in alates and in colony founding pairs in a dry-wood nesting species and two soil-nesting species of termites. Females and males contained similar quantities of storage protein at the time of the mating flight. Alates of soil-nesting species contained much higher levels of storage protein than the wood nesting species. After eggs hatched, protein stores plummeted in both sexes of both ecological types. Greater storage by alates of soil-nesting species is correlated with lack of access food during founding and the larger number of workers produced in their first broods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-387
Number of pages5
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Biparental care
  • Claustral founding
  • Hexamerin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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