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Current Termites News and Events, Termites News Articles.
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Evolutionary origin of termite gut microbiome revealed
Researchers have shown that the bacterial communities in termite guts came about through both inheritance and transfer between colonies. (2018-02-16)

Medical care for wounded ants
Ants dress the wounds their mates have suffered in battle. Such behavior is believed to be unique among animals. (2018-02-13)

Termites' unique gut 'factory' key to global domination
Termites have achieved ecological dominance and now some ingredients for their success have been determined to lie in their unique gut microbiome 'factories' -- which enable the creatures to eat wood and other material relatively free of competition. New research shows the majority of termite gut microorganisms is not found in any other animals and that they are not only inherited from parents but are also shared across colonies and among distantly related termite species. (2018-02-08)

The social evolution of termites
Similar genes involved in the evolution of insect societies as in bees and ants. (2018-02-07)

Cockroach ancient geographic and genomic history traced back to last supercontinent
Armed with a vast amount of genomic information, a team of researchers led by Dr. Thomas Bourguignon, now professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, has performed the first molecular dating to gain the clearest picture yet of the biogeographical history of cockroaches. They have traced back the key evolutionary time points of the cockroach -- all the way back almost 300 million years ago when the Earth's mass was organized into the Pangaea supercontinent. (2018-02-06)

New 'big-armed fly' species named after former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
A new fly species with bulging forelegs is named after former California governor and famous bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Measuring 0.395 mm in body length, it is also now the smallest known fly. Entomologist Brian Brown explains he named it for Schwarzenegger, apart from its 'bulging legs,' in tribute to the inspirational role the celebrity had in the scientist's teenage years. His research article is published in the open access Biodiversity Data Journal. (2018-01-24)

Little wasp bodies means little wasp brain regions, study shows
A Drexel study looking at 19 species of paper wasps found that body size may lead to variation in the complex parts of their brains. (2018-01-03)

Life in marine driftwood: The case of driftwood specialist talitrids
The rare and difficult-to-sample driftwood talitrids, also called driftwood hoppers, are reviewed by David Wildish in the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution. The scientist links these crustaceans' trend to small size (dwarfism) to the poor quality of driftwood as food, and/or the size of empty burrows they occupy. Behavioural experiments suggest that the smallest talitrids can occupy most available burrows, whereas the largest ones could complete their life cycle in 58% of them. (2017-12-20)

Separated since the dinosaurs, bamboo-eating lemurs, pandas share common gut microbes
A new study finds that bamboo lemurs, giant pandas and red pandas share 48 gut microbes in common -- despite the fact that they are separated by millions of years of evolution. (2017-12-06)

Long-haired microbes named after Canadian band Rush
Three new species of microbe found in the guts of termites have been named after members of the Canadian prog-rock band Rush, owing to the microbes' long hair and rhythmic wriggling under the microscope. (2017-11-27)

Crunch time for food security
Insects have been a valuable source of nutritional protein for centuries, as both food and feed. The challenge now is to broaden their appeal, safely and sustainably (2017-11-10)

Researchers look for dawn of human information sharing
Researchers are challenging a widely accepted notion, first advanced by paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey, that a 2 million-year-old rock represents the dawn of human ancestors sharing information with each other. (2017-11-01)

Aardvarks' fate points to worrying consequences for wildlife, due to climate change
Aardvarks prove to be highly susceptible to the warmer and drier climates that are predicted for the western parts of southern Africa in the future. During the study of a number of aardvarks by researchers of the Brain Function Research Group at the University of the Witwatersrand, all but one of the study animals -- as well as other aardvarks in the area -- died because of a severe drought, with air temperatures much higher than normal and very dry soil in the area. (2017-07-31)

Stingless bees have specialized guards to defend their colonies, study reveals
Several species of stingless bees have specialized guards or soldiers to defend their colonies from attacks by natural enemies. The differentiation of these guardian bees evolved in the last 25 million years and coincided with the appearance of parasitic 'robber' bees, which represent a major threat to many stingless bee species. These discoveries were made by a group of researchers in Brazil in collaboration with colleagues in Germany. (2017-05-23)

Termite gut holds a secret to breaking down plant biomass
In the Microbial Sciences Building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the incredibly efficient eating habits of a fungus-cultivating termite are surprising even to those well acquainted with the insect's natural gift for turning wood to dust. (2017-04-17)

99-million-year-old termite-loving thieves caught in Burmese amber
A research team led by NIGPAS reported the oldest, morphologically specialized, and obligate termitophiles from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber, which represent the oldest known termitophiles, and reveal that ancient termite societies were quickly invaded by beetles about 99 million years ago. (2017-04-13)

Ants rescue their injured
Ants operate a unique rescue system: when an insect is injured during a fight, it calls for help. Its mates will then carry it back to the nest for recovery. (2017-04-12)

IUPUI researcher weighs in on fairy circles of Namibia
A study conducted by researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis adds new insights into one of nature's great mysteries: the fairy circles of Namibia. (2017-03-28)

How cathedral termites got to Australia to build their 'sky-scrapers'
They build among the tallest non-human structures (proportionately speaking) in the world and now a pioneering study has found the termites that live in Australia's remote Top End originated from overseas -- rafting vast distances and migrating from tree-tops to the ground, as humans later did. They adapted to significant environmental changes, including increasingly arid conditions and changed from wood- to grass-eaters, with their ground-based fortresses are now a prominent feature of remote areas 'Down Under'. (2017-02-21)

Ants stomp, termites tiptoe: Predator detection by a cryptic prey
Secretive and destructive, termites live in close proximity to predatory ants yet still outsmart them. New Australian research shows why -- termites have evolved the capability to sense vibrations of their enemies in the substrate while moving quickly, quietly and efficiently. (2017-02-21)

In African 'fairy circles,' a template for nature's many patterns
Scientists have long debated how landscape-scale plant patterns such as the famous 'fairy circles' of Namibia form and persist. Now, a new Princeton University-led study suggests that instead of a single overarching cause, large-scale vegetation patterns in arid ecosystems could occasionally stem from millions of local interactions among neighboring plants and animals. The work could explain many patterns throughout the world. (2017-01-20)

New theory may explain mystery of Fairy Circles of Namibia
One of nature's greatest mysteries -- the 'Fairy Circles' of Namibia -- may have been unraveled by researchers at the University of Strathclyde and Princeton University. (2017-01-19)

Termite queens' efficient antioxidant system may enable long life
Termite queens have an efficient antioxidant system which may underpin their ability to live longer than non-reproductive termites, according to a study published Jan. 11, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Eisuke Tasaki from Tottori and Yamaguchi Universities, Japan, and colleagues. (2017-01-11)

New termite species condemned to 100 years of solitude with a second chance
While the last species of the termite genus Proneotermes has been discovered more than a hundred years ago, now scientists have described a new and a third one in the open-access journal ZooKeys. Part of the fauna living in the dry forests in Colombia, its name was inspired by the magic realism of the fictional town of 'Macondo' from the novel 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel GarcĂ­a Marquez. (2016-10-18)

Why mole rats are more flexible than we previously thought
One of the most interesting facts about mole rats -- that, as with ants and termites, individuals specialize in particular tasks throughout their lives -- turns out to be wrong. Instead, a new study led by the University of Cambridge shows that individuals perform different roles at different ages and that age rather than caste membership accounts for contrasts in their behavior. (2016-08-29)

Homosexual termite regicide
Termites not only raid people's homes, but also the humble abodes of other happy termite couples. Male Japanese termites form homosexual couples when no females are around -- and when the chance arises, they take over a heterosexual couple's nest and kill the male so that one of them can mate with the now spouseless female. The study supports a theory that homosexual couplings in invertebrates have evolutionary advantages. (2016-08-18)

Researchers discover oldest evidence of 'farming' -- by insects
Scientists have discovered the oldest fossil evidence of agriculture -- not by humans, but by insects. (2016-06-23)

The world's oldest farmers
An international team of researchers has discovered the oldest fossil evidence of agriculture, not by humans, but by insects. (2016-06-22)

Tracing the ancestry of dung beetles
One of the largest and most important groups of dung beetles in the world evolved from a single common ancestor and relationships among the various lineages are now known, according to new research by entomologist Dr T. Keith Philips, Western Kentucky University. His research, recently published in the open access journal Zookeys, provides important insights into the evolution and diversity of these species, which make up about half of the world's dung beetle fauna. (2016-04-25)

Fairy circles discovered in Australia by researchers at Ben-Gurion U. and Helmholtz
Analyzing this data, the researchers concluded that the barren patches in Australia are not produced by animal activities. 'In Australia, in the majority of cases, we found no nests in the circles. Unlike in Namibia, cryptic sand termites do not exist in Australia,' Getzin says. 'And the ones we did find have a completely different distribution pattern to the fairy circles.' (2016-03-28)

Researchers discover fairy circles in Australia
The circular, barren patches of land, forming a highly regular pattern over the dry grassland of Namibia, were thought to be the only ones of their kind anywhere in the world. But a new study in the journal PNAS shows that they are not. Working with Israeli and Australian colleagues, researchers from the UFZ have now discovered the baffling structures in the uninhabited Australian outback too. (2016-03-15)

Study finds more social insects have weaker immune response, highlights role of hygiene
Research finds that among eusocial insects -- like ants, bees and termites -- the more individuals there are in a typical species colony, the weaker the species' immune response. The finding strongly suggests that hygiene behaviors, and not just immune systems, play a key role in keeping eusocial insects healthy. (2016-03-09)

Media advisory: Insect scientists to meet in Raleigh, NC
Members of the media are welcome to attend the 90th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Branch (SEB) of the Entomological Society of America, March 13-16, 2016, in Raleigh, NC. (2016-03-07)

Ants were socializing -- and sparring -- nearly 100 million years ago, Rutgers study finds
Like people, ants have often fought over food and territory. But ants began fighting long before humans: at least 99 million years ago, according to Phillip Barden, a fossil insect expert who works in the Insect and Evolution Lab of Jessica L. Ware, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-Newark. (2016-02-12)

100-mllion-year-old amber preserves oldest animal societies
Fighting ants, giant solider termites, and foraging worker ants recently discovered in 100-million-year-old amber provide direct evidence for advanced social behavior in ancient ants and termites -- two groups that are immensely successful because of their ability to organize in hierarchies. The new work proves that advanced sociality in ants and termites was present tens of millions of years earlier than indicated by the previous fossil record. (2016-02-11)

Study finds more tunnels in ant nests means more food for colony
A UC San Diego study of the underground 'architecture' of harvester ant nests has found that the more connected the chambers an ant colony builds near the surface entrance, the faster the ants are able to collect nearby sources of food. (2015-10-20)

Sponge cells build skeletons with pole-and-beam structure
Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Sept. 17 have found that sponges build their skeletons in a completely different way than other animals do. In fact, the building process looks a lot like the construction of man-made buildings, minus the architectural plans. (2015-09-17)

Taking apart termite mounds
Researchers have for the first time has described in detail how termite mounds are ventilated. The study reveals that the structures act akin to a lung, inhaling and exhaling once a day as they are heated and cooled. (2015-09-02)

Love conquers all: A new beetle species from Cambodia named after Venus
A team of Japanese scientists Mr. Kakizoe and Dr. Maruyama found and described a new species of scarab beetle from Cambodia. The beetle was named after Venus -- the Roman goddess of beauty and love -- to complement a previously described species from the same area that bears the name of Cupid. The study can be found in the open-access journal ZooKeys. (2015-07-15)

Examining the neonicotinoid threat to honey bees
The decline of honey bees has been a major concern globally for the past decade. One of the factors that could be contributing to the decline is the use of insecticides -- specifically neonicotinoids -- that persist in rivers and streams. Researchers now report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters that although sunlight plays an important role in degrading pollutants, its effects on neonicotinoids can diminish dramatically even in shallow water. (2015-07-08)

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