Unique zinc mass in mandibles separates drywood termites from other groups of termites

Cribb, Bronwen W., Stewart, A., Huang, H., Truss, R. W., Noller, B.N., Rasch, R. and Zalucki, M.P. (2008) Unique zinc mass in mandibles separates drywood termites from other groups of termites. Naturwissenschaften, 95 5: 433-441. doi:10.1007/s00114-008-0346-3


Author Cribb, Bronwen W.
Stewart, A.
Huang, H.
Truss, R. W.
Noller, B.N.
Rasch, R.
Zalucki, M.P.
Title Unique zinc mass in mandibles separates drywood termites from other groups of termites
Journal name Naturwissenschaften   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-1042
1432-1904
Publication date 2008-05-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00114-008-0346-3
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 95
Issue 5
Start page 433
End page 441
Total pages 9
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer Berlin
Language eng
Subject C1
960411 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Urban and Industrial Environments
060808 Invertebrate Biology
Abstract Previously, the presence of metals in arthropod mandibles has been linked with harder cuticle, and in termites, a 20% increase in hardness has been found for mandibles containing major quantities of zinc. The current study utilises electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis to assess incidence and abundance of metals in all extant subfamilies of the Isoptera. The basal clades contain no zinc and little to no manganese in the cutting edge of the mandible cuticle, suggesting that these states are ancestral for termites. However, experimentation with mandibles in vitro indicates the presence of some elements of the cuticular biochemistry necessary to enable uptake of zinc. The Termopsidae, Serritermitidae, Rhinotermitidae and Termitidae all contain minor quantities of manganese, while trace to minor quantities of zinc occur in all except the Serritermitidae. In contrast, all Kalotermitidae or drywood termites contain major levels of zinc in the mandible edge. Diet and life type are explored as links to metal profiles across the termites. The presence of harder mandibles in the drywood termites may be related to lack of access to free water with which to moisten wood. Scratch tests were applied to a set of mandibles. The coefficient of friction for Cryptotermes primus (Kalotermitidae) mandibles, when compared with species from other subfamilies, indicates that zinc-containing mandibles are likely to be more scratch resistant.
Formatted abstract
Previously, the presence of metals in arthropod mandibles has been linked with harder cuticle, and in termites, a 20% increase in hardness has been found for mandibles containing major quantities of zinc. The current study utilises electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis to assess incidence and abundance of metals in all extant subfamilies of the Isoptera. The basal clades contain no zinc and little to no manganese in the cutting edge of the mandible cuticle, suggesting that these states are ancestral for termites. However, experimentation with mandibles in vitro indicates the presence of some elements of the cuticular biochemistry necessary to enable uptake of zinc. The Termopsidae, Serritermitidae, Rhinotermitidae and Termitidae all contain minor quantities of manganese, while trace to minor quantities of zinc occur in all except the Serritermitidae. In contrast, all Kalotermitidae or drywood termites contain major levels of zinc in the mandible edge. Diet and life type are explored as links to metal profiles across the termites. The presence of harder mandibles in the drywood termites may be related to lack of access to free water with which to moisten wood. Scratch tests were applied to a set of mandibles. The coefficient of friction for Cryptotermes primus (Kalotermitidae) mandibles, when compared with species from other subfamilies, indicates that zinc-containing mandibles are likely to be more scratch resistant.
Keyword Insect
Biomineralisation
Jaws
EDX
EDS
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 18 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 11 Feb 2009, 21:21:31 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences