Insects (2020) 11 (5 - 262)

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John Zukowski and Nan-Yao Su (2020)
A comparison of morphology among four termite species with different moisture requirements
Insects 11 (5 - 262)
Abstract: The thicknesses of the cuticle and rectal pads, and the spiracle morphology were compared for four termite species from different habitats, including one drywood termite, Cryptotermes brevis Walker, one "wetwood" termite, Cryptotermes cavifrons Banks, one subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, and one dampwood termite, Neotermes jouteli (Banks). Cuticle thicknesses were significantly different among all four termite species. Neotermes jouteli had the thickest cuticle, while Co. formosanus had the thinnest. The cuticle of C. brevis was thicker than that of C. cavifrons and Co. formosanus, which may reflect a comparably greater need to prevent water loss in drier habitats for C. brevis. Rectal pad widths were significantly different among all four termite species, except those of C. brevis with N. jouteli. The rectal pads of N. jouteli and C. brevis were thicker than those of C. cavifrons and Co. formosanus, and the rectal pads of C. cavifrons were thicker than those of Co. formosanus in turn. Larger rectal pads likely account for the water conservation mechanism of producing dry, pelleted frass in the kalotermitids (N. jouteli, C. brevis, and C. cavifrons). Morphological observations of the spiracles showed the presence of protuberances (atrial arms) in the three kalotermitids. The function of this protuberance is unclear, but it may serve as a sac-like structure, aiding in gas exchange, or a moisture trap aiding in the prevention of water loss through evaporation.
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Full text of article
Database assignments for author(s): Nan-Yao Su

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution
environment - cropping system/rotation


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Coptotermes formosanus U.S.A. (SE)
Cryptotermes brevis U.S.A. (SE)
Cryptotermes cavifrons U.S.A. (SE)
Neotermes jouteli U.S.A. (SE)