Respiratory Rate and Energy Utilization by Macrotermes Carbonarius Hagen) (Isoptera, Termitidae, Macrotermitinae) in Penang, Malaysia

  • Lilory D. McComie
  • G. Dhanarajan
Research Article


There were significant variations in oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide evolution of Macrotermes carbonarius (Hagen) among the soldiers and workers over a 10-hr experimental period. This suggested that the insects exhibited rhythmic respiratory behaviour in spite of being separated from their nest system and in the stressful situation of confinement of a respiratory flask at 29°C. The correlation between body fresh weight (mg) and respiratory rate ml O2/mg fresh wt/hr was significant. A respiratory quotient of 1.0–1.1 suggested that glucose was the respiratory metabolic substrate utilized and that both aerobic and anaerobic processes could have been taking place. Most of the leaf litter imported into the mound was utilized by the fungus on the fungus comb for metabolism with the release of carbon dioxide, heat and water. The heat released was sufficient to maintain the brood chamber temperature at 29.1 ± 03°C despite fluctuations of the ambient temperature and the temperature of the surrounding soil.

Key Words

Macrotermes carbonarius respiratory rate oxygen consumption carbon dioxide liberation heat production water production oxidation of glucose mound temperature 


Cette étude montre qu’il y avait des variations importantes dans l’ utilisation variation d’oxygène at l’évolution le gazearbonique parmi des soldatset des ouvriers de M. carbonarius dans une periode d’experimentation de dix heurs. Ce semble indiquer que les insectes se montrent une maniere respiratoire rhythmique malgré leur sepération de systeme de termitière. A 20°C le rapport entre le poids frais du corps (mg) et le taux de respiration rel O2/mg poids frais/hr était important. Un quotient respiratoire de (1.0–1.1) indique que le glucose était le substrat metabolique utilise et que les procès aerobique et anaerobique ont en lieu.

La plupart d’énergie de la litière de feuilles apportee dans le nid était utilisé par les fongussur le meule à champignons resultant en l’évolution de gaz carbonique, de la chaleur et de l’eau. La chaleur libere était suffisante pour maintenir la température de couver à 29.1 ± 0.2°C malgré les fluctuations de la temperature ambiente et de celle du sol environment.

Mots Cléfs

Macrotermes carbonarius taux de respiration utilization d’oxygène evolution de gaz carbonique production de chaleur production de l’ean oxidation de glucose temperature la termitière 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE-ICIPE Science Press 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lilory D. McComie
    • 1
  • G. Dhanarajan
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Division, Ministry of Food Production and Marine ExploitationCentral Experiment Station, Centeno via Arima P.O.Trinidad and Tobago
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaMinden, PenangMalaysia

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