Biology Honors 4
2 September 2014
The effect of the amount of times the line is traced over on the time termite stays on the line
Termites produce chemicals within their bodies called pheromones. Ink inside Paper Mate ball point pens contains pheromones, causing termites to follow any trail draw with a paper mate ink pen.
How does changing the amount of times the line is traced over affect how long the termite will stay on the line? If the amount of times the line is traced over is greater, then the termite will stay along the line longer because of the stronger scent that will attract the termite.
We will use identical pieces of paper. Then we will use the black Paper Mate ink pen to draw a line of a millimeter thickness, starting out with tracing it 5 times over. The line will be 6cm long. Then once we’ve drawn the line with the black paper mate ink pen, we will then put the termite on the starting point of the line and start the timer as the termite begins to move. If the termite ever stops, we will have to pause the time since we are measuring how long the termite will stay on the line. When the termite gets off the line for more than 10 seconds, we will record the time the termite was on the line. We will do this for all the trials, except we will be changing the amount of times the line is traced over.
Times line traced over Termite 1 Termite 2 Termite 3 Termite 4 Termite 5
5 times 11 sec 26 sec 7 sec 3 sec 16 sec
6 times 4 sec 15 sec 8 sec 5 sec 12 sec
Looking at the graph, 3 out of the 5 termites stayed longer on the line traced over 6 times, compared to the line traced over less times, proving the hypothesis right. The time the termites stayed on the line is very close to being the same, for example with termite 3.
The anomalous in the data and graph would be termite 1. In the line traced over 5 times the termite stayed on it for 11 seconds and on the line traced over 6 times it stayed on it 4 seconds, contradicting the hypothesis. The termite was probably injured or tired by the time of the second trial causing the anomalous.
To the termites, the pen ink resembles to a trail of pheromones.
Termites are decomposers, meaning they break down dead or decaying organisms, like wood, and turn them into useful nutrients for other living things.