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+ Dr Ra Inta of CSIRO Entomology and UNSW@ADFA

Dr Ra Inta of CSIRO Entomology and UNSW@ADFA

Researchers from CSIRO and UNSW@ADFA have shown that termites can tell what sort of material their food is made of, without having to actually touch it. The findings may lead to improvements in the control of feeding termites.

By offering them a choice between normal wooden blocks and specially designed blocks made of wood and other materials, the researchers found that the termites always preferred the blocks containing the most wood – even though they could not touch or see the other materials.

Dr Ra Inta, from UNSW@ADFA and CSIRO Entomology, says the ability to differentiate between food sources is based on the vibrations of the food that the termites are eating, although the exact mechanism for this ability is yet to be explored.

“If we understand how they use vibrations to assess their food, we might be able to exploit this to manipulate their feeding habits, and address the very significant problem of termite damage in buildings and other structures,” Dr Inta says.

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Dr Ra Inta of CSIRO Entomology and UNSW@ADFA
Dr Ra Inta of CSIRO Entomology and UNSW@ADFA

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