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© The Authors 2015. Identification and quantitation of fatty acids (FAs) in nymphs, alates, workers, presoldiers, and soldiers of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, were determined by gas chromatography- mass spectrometry, showing quantitative and qualitative differences among groups. Total FAs content of nymphs and alate females was about 1.5-fold higher than alate males, about 2-fold higher than workers, 6-fold higher than presoldiers, and 12-fold higher than soldiers. Overall differences in total FAs content were due to oleic acid (C18:1), stearic acid (C18:0), linoleic acid (C18:2), and palmitic acid (C16:0). Soldiers contained two unique FAs among the castes - lignoceric (C24:0) and hexacosanoic acid (C26:0). Nymphs had the highest ratio between triacylglycerols and phospholipids probably for energy storage in alate development. Four branched FAs - 13-methyl myristic, 14-methyl pentadecenoic, 15-methyl palmitic, and 14-methyl palmitic - and three oddnumbered FAs - pentadecanoic (C15:0), heptadecanoic (C17:0), and heptadecenoic (C17:1) - were found in nymphs, alates, workers, presoldiers, and soldiers. Interestingly, all FAs were distributed in different percentages both in triglycerides and phospholipids of the different developmental stages and castes, indicating a function both for energy storage and membrane components. Five different 2-hydroxy FAs - 2-OH C16:0, 2-OH C18:0, 2-OH C20:0, 2-OH C22:0, and 2-OH C24:0 - were identified, the latter only in soldiers. Total 2-hydroxy FAs content in soldiers was significantly higher than that in other groups (6.01-7.9-fold vs. presoldiers and 41.7- 132.6-fold vs. nymphs, alates, and workers), and the quantity in presoldiers was significantly higher than in nymphs, alates, and workers, with no difference among nymphs, alates, and workers.

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Annals of the Entomological Society of America

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