Sara Prussing

Date of Award


Document Type



Environmental and Forest Biology

Thesis Advisor

William M. Shields


Nest site selection in a variety of species can be impacted by the assessment of predation risk. Predation risk can be evaluated by factors such as nest height, concealment, and substrate type. With the assumption that predation risk varies among substrate types, Nasutitermes spp. termites were predicted to non-randomly select nest sites based on substrate type and to display differential defense response as a function of substrate. If given vibratory cues prior to nest breach, Nasutitermes spp. termites were predicted to react to the breach more quickly or with more soldiers. Seventy five nests were surveyed at the Palo Verde Biological Station to record nest substrate type, nest area, nest coverage by vegetation, and potential nest sites within a 10m radius. Upon nest breach, the time to the first soldier’s arrival and the subsequent number of soldiers that flocked to the disturbance site were recorded for each active nest. Nasutitermes spp. nest site selection reflected the availability of accessible substrate types rather than reflecting a preference for one type. There was no change in defense response in relation to substrate type or the presence of advance vibratory cues. Nasutitermes spp. nest site selection is not influenced by substrate type, suggesting that substrate types may not experience differential predation risk.

Included in

Entomology Commons