Biology 10100
Termite Labe Report
September 30th, 2015

Termites Preference of Ink
Termites, insects that are almost completely blind because they live their whole life in the dark are attracted to specific types of inks due to the inks composition of pheromones they can easily identify (Roger E. Gold). The purpose of this experiment was to test if the termites were more attracted to the paper-mate pen versus the sharpie. To carry out the experiment, two rectangles were drawn, one with a paper-mate pen and, the other with a sharpie. Both rectangles was drawn with red inked writing utensils. For each trail one termite was free to roam about the paper for a hundred and twenty seconds. Each trial was recorded, both for the paper-mater and the sharpie, according to how long the termite stayed on the shape drawn. After the times were documented, they were averaged and the writing utensil with the highest average was the one with the ink that attract the termite the most. The ink with the highest average happened to be the red Paper-mate pen. The result of this experiment did in fact prove that the termites were attracted to the smell of the ink of the red paper-mate pen.

Termites are soft-bodied insects that live in colonies, and consume cellulose-based plant materials (What are termites, 2008). Termites are believed to be major decomposers that are of ecological importance (Leal, 2005). In a termite colony only the king termite and the queen termites have eyes; all worker and soldier termites are blind and rely heavily on scent (Ishida, 2002). Termites use their antennas to detect a chemical trail in order to get a sense of their surroundings and in order to find food (Ishida, 2002). It was observed that the termites would follow the trail of the freshly drawn shape, which made us believe that it was true that termites detect scents by the chemical trails left behind.

The termites will prefer the red paper-mate pen ink rectangle to the sharpie marker ink rectangle because the paper-mate pen mimics the pheromone that termites release.
Null Hypothesis
The termites will not prefer the red paper-mate pen ink to the sharpie marker ink because the sharpie marker does not mimic the pheromone that termites release.
Alternative Hypothesis
Termites will prefer the paper-mate pen ink to the sharpie marker regardless of the inks color.

Experimental Design/ Methods
The Independent variable is the type of ink used (Paper-mate pen ink or Sharpie marker ink), as this will determine the change in the dependent variable. The Dependent variable is the amount of time the termite will stay on the line drawn by the red utensils used. For this experiment obtain a white sheet of paper, a red pen and sharpie. Draw on the white paper, a rectangle using both the red paper-mate pen and the red sharpie marker.

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1
Place termite one at a time on the rectangle and then record how long the termite stays on the line and off of the line for 120seconds. Repeat and record data for each trial.

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 2:
Figure two shows the number of termites used in the experiment as well as the amount of time each termite stayed on the red paper-mate rectangle and the red sharpie marker rectangle.

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 3
Figure three shows the mean time the termites spent on the red paper-mate pen rectangle and the red sharpie rectangle before wandering off. The error bars represent the standard deviations for each treatment.

Table SEQ Table * ARABIC 1

Red Paper-mate Pen
Red Sharpie
45.32 Seconds
12.82 Seconds
41 Seconds
11 Seconds
22 Seconds
4 Seconds
117 Seconds
45 Seconds
Standard Deviation
Degrees of Freedom
Standard Error

Discussion and Conclusion
The hypothesis, the termites would prefer the red paper-mate pen more than the sharpie was supported by the results of the experiment. It could be said that the scent of the pen was similar to the pheromone that the termites use in order to signal each other to the food source. This inference was based on the fact that the termite followed the red pen mark for a greater percentage of time than it did with the sharpie. Our data does not support the alternative hypothesis, which stated that termites would follow the paper-mate