Endocrine effects of social stimuli on maturing queens of the dampwood termite Zootermopsis angusticollis Academic Article uri icon


  • The reproductive physiology of social insects is often highly responsive to social stimuli from nestmates, but the mechanisms underlying this sensitivity are usually poorly understood. The effect of varied social conditions on the endocrinology and ovarian maturation in maturing female primary reproductives of the dampwood termite Zootermopsis angusticollis Hagen is studied to better understand their developmental responses to conspecifics. Newly dealate queens are paired with a reproductive male, with another maturing female, or are allowed to mature in isolation. Developmental responses are tracked by monitoring rates of juvenile hormone (JH) production by corpora allata in vitro, haemolymph ecdysteroids titres and ovarian development after 5, 10, 15 and 30 days of maturation. Significant declines in rates of JH production rates are observed by days 5, 10 and 30, respectively, for females paired with males, left to mature in isolation or paired with a female. Ecdysteroid titres increase by day 5 and stay elevated in females nesting with males. By contrast, for CA from females that are isolated or paired with another female, the titres decline and stay low until at least day 15, but increase significantly by day 30. These hormonal differences correspond to differential rates of physiological maturation, with more rapid ovarian development occurring in females paired with a male, than in those nesting alone or with another female. The results suggest that JH and ecdysteroids modulate the ovarian response of alates to stimuli from nestmates during this period of maturation, and that JH and ecdysteroid titres may be regulated independently during this period of development. 2006 The Royal Entomological Society.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Brent, C. S., Schal, C., & Vargo, E. L.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Brent, Colin S||Schal, Coby||Vargo, Edward L

publication date

  • January 1, 2007 11:11 AM