The terpenoid, cis-nerol was found to be highly toxic to the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki. Morphological abnormalities were observed in the exoskeleton including the spiracles and trichoid sensilla using scanning electron microscopy after exposure of termites to cis-nerol for 2 h. Proteins were found in a water-soluble fraction collected from the whole termite body exposed to cis-nerol for 60 min. It appears that terpenoids cause damage to cell membranes resulting in a significant loss of proteins.

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Author notes

2Department of Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Division.

4Department of Entomology.

5Socolofsky Microscopy Center of Biological Sciences.

6Department of Chemistry.