We determined the effect of enhanced dietary nitrogen on the ovarian maturation of female primary and neotenic reproductives of the termite Zootermopsis angusticollis Hagen. Supplementing the wood diet of newly paired reproductives with a 0.05% uric acid solution resulted in both primaries and neotenics gaining less body mass. This may have occurred because the increased nitrogen content of their food allowed reproductives to consume less wood to meet their dietary needs, thereby reducing the mass of their gut contents. An abundance of exogenous nitrogen may have also stimulated females to excrete excess uric acid rather than store it, further reducing mass gain. Nitrogen supplementation resulted in significant increases in ovariole number and fecundity for neotenic females but not primary females. These results suggest that although enhancing dietary nitrogen may release newly molted neotenics from nutritional limitations on their fecundity, dietary enhancement with 0.05% uric acid does not significantly effect the reproductive development of recently dealated primaries. Possible reasons for each reproductive form’s response to enhanced dietary nitrogen are discussed.
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