A food factory strictly managed by fungus-growing termites

Joo Young Cha, I. G.P. Wirawan, Yutaka Tamai, Si Young Lee, Kun Woo Chun, Sang Yong Lee, Shoji Ohga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we analyzed fungus gardens of Odontotermes feae (Wasmann), which are associated with Termitomyces eurhizus (Berk.) R. Heim, and of Ancistrotermes pakistanicus Ahmad, which are associated with T. striatus (Beeli) R. Heim, to examine the ecological effects of termite use on primordium and fruiting-body formation Our results indicate that the symbiotic termites strictly managed those fungus gardens that developed fruiting bodies We also found that the termites prevented fruiting-body formation in fungus gardens of O. feae associated with T. eurhizus by eating the blackish tips of the primordia just prior to fruiting-body development Ancistrotermes pakistanicus, however, did not eat the growing primordia of T. striatus. Instead, the primordia became fruiting bodies, the pseudorhizae of which were used along with the fungus garden as food for the termites Moreover, our results revealed that Termitomyces developed fruiting bodies in the fungus gardens after the termites had deserted the nest. In conclusion, although the behavior between O. feae and A pakistanicus toward fungus combs differs, their common goal is to maintain mycelial masses, including woody debris as a food resource.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-14
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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