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Reproductive strategies of the neotropical termite Nasutitermes aquilinus (Isoptera: Termitidae)

Grant number: 17/04525-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2017
Effective date (End): February 28, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:Ana Maria Costa-Leonardo
Grantee:Iago Bueno da Silva
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil


Recent studies have shown a new panorama for the reproduction in termites, although many gaps still exist, mainly related to the species of the family Termitidae found at the Neotropical region. The appearance of neotenic reproductives in some species is already well established, but the contribution of ergatoid neotenics, which are derived from workers or pseudergates, to the dynamic of a Isoptera colony remains unknow. Nasutitermes aquilinus, species studied on this research, is a Neotropical termite which usually exhibit ergatoid reproductives, and other available studies contemplating these reproductives are limited to morphological descriptions. Thus, this study aims to investigate the reproductive strategies in N. aquilinus to: i) To elucidate the reproductive mechanisms of this species, mainly about the development of ergatoid reproductives; ii) To understand the influence of these neotenics on the colonies structure; iii) To understand the evolutionary processes which lead to the development of ergatoid reproductives. To achieve these objectives, microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA will be used as tools in genetic analyses of N. aquilinus. This study is linked to a more embracing scientific project which intends to investigate the reproductive strategies in two Neotropical species of termites. The quoted project receives financial support from FAPESP (Process No. 2014/25857-4) and a partnership with Dr. Eduard L. Vargo, researcher at Texas A & M University, which has extensive knowledge and scientific publications related with molecular tools applied to studies in Isoptera reproduction. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DA SILVA, IAGO BUENO; HAIFIG, IVES; VARGO, EDWARD L.; CASARIN, FABIANA ELAINE; DA MOTA, MARCELO LUIZ; LIMA, JULIANA TOLEDO; COSTA-LEONARDO, ANA MARIA. Ergatoid reproductives in the Neotropical termite Nasutitermes aquilinus (Holmgren) (Blattaria: Isoptera: Termitidae): developmental origin, fecundity, and genetics. Insect Science, v. 27, n. 6 OCT 2019. Web of Science Citations: 2.

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