Corpse Management Strategies in Social Insects


  • Anusree Asokan Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, Padannakkad, Kerala Agricultural University, Kasaragod 671314, Kerala
  • Barikkad Ramesha Extension Training Centre, Manjeshwar,Kerala Agricultural University, Kasaragod 671323, Kerala
  • Seena S. M. Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, Padannakkad, Kerala Agricultural University, Kasaragod 671314, Kerala
  • Anooj S. S. Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, Padannakkad, Kerala Agricultural University, Kasaragod 671314, Kerala
  • Sreekumar K. M. Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, Padannakkad, Kerala Agricultural University, Kasaragod 671314, Kerala



Social insects, Hymenoptera, Isoptera, necrophoresis, necrophagy, burial behaviour, hygienic behaviour, death cues, CHCs, eusociality, division of labour


Social insects are arthropods that lives in a community with other members of the same species. Eusocial insects frequently lose colony members as a result of living in big groupings. They perform cooperative corpse management to maintain the hygiene of the nest, exhibiting behavioural and physiological responses that promote disease resistance, nutrient reallocating and colony protection. Undertaking behaviour is most common in social insects belonging to Hymenoptera and Isoptera which adopts various mechanisms of death recognition, convergent and divergent behavioural responses towards dead items. Corpse removal, burial, cannibalism and avoidance are different solutions evolved by social insects, independently towards the problem of corpse management. Genetic studies and gene expression analysis related to social immune systems gives a better knowledge on behavioural and physiological disease defense in insects which could be considered a novel access to biological pest control. This article provides a comprehensive understanding of corpse management in social insects.


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How to Cite

Asokan, A., Ramesha, B., S. M., S., S. S., A., & K. M., S. (2023). Corpse Management Strategies in Social Insects. Indian Journal of Entomology, 86(2), 668–677.



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