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Picky-eater termites choose good vibes

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6:25pm, March 15, 2005

Termites are fussy eaters. Some go for twigs and branches. Others favor logs and trunks. Vibrations in the wood may help all these termites choose what to eat, according to Theodore Evans of CSIRO, Australia's national research agency, in Canberra.

Evans had noted that termites are also noisy eaters, and he thought that the blind, slow insects might be exploiting their racket to gather intelligence about food sources.

To test his hunch, he and his colleagues offered big and small pine blocks to a common tropical dry-wood species of termite, Cryptotermes domesticus. The scientists found that the species preferred the smaller, domino-size blocks.

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