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VideoLab: Butting Heads in the Termite Mound

Butting behavior among workers in a colony of termites (Cryptotermes secundus), which increases when queens are removed. Butting is associated with reproductive dominance, and workers that go on to replace the king or queen display more butting than workers that do not change caste. Using the frequency of butting behavior as a behavioral proxy for queen replacement, and combining this with studies of RNA interference, Korb et al. were able to identify the single gene responsible for the reproductive division of labor between queens and workers in this social insect species.

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Resource Type: Video, Journal article/Issue
Audience Level: High school upper division 11-12, Undergraduate lower division 13-14, Undergraduate upper division 15-16

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: Judith Korb of Behavioral Biology and Biology, University of Osnabrueck, Tobias Weil of Department of Biology and Hematology, and University of Regensburg, Katharina Hoffmann of Behavioral Biology, University of Regensburg, Kevin R. Foster of Center for Systems Biology, and University Hospital Regensburg, Michael Rehli of Department of Hematology, University of Osnabrueck
Publisher: AAAS
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No


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