Journal of Economic Entomology (2019) 112, 2872-2881

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Chia-Chien Wu, Cheng-Lung Tsai, Wei-Ren Liang, Yoko Takematsu and Hou-Feng Li (2019)
Identification of subterranean termite genus, Reticulitermes (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae) in Taiwan
Journal of Economic Entomology 112 (6), 2872-2881
Abstract: Species identification in the genus Reticulitermes is often difficult because of ambiguous morphological characters. Challenges in Reticulitermes spp. recognition have also been encountered in East Asia, including Taiwan. Because of unknown Reticulitermes taxa in Taiwan and the possible origin of alien Reticulitermes kanmonensis Takematsu in Japan and Korea, reexamining Reticulitermes fauna in Taiwan is imperative. To clarify the Reticulitermes fauna in Taiwan, this study applied two mitochondrial genes (cytochrome oxidase subunit II [COII] and 16S rDNA) and morphological characters for species delimitation. Reticulitermes specimens collected from 63 localities across the main and adjacent islands of Taiwan were analyzed. Phylogenetic analyses, morphological comparisons, and ecological traits suggested the existence of three species in Taiwan: Reticulitermes flaviceps (Oshima), R. kanmonensis, and Reticulitermes leptomandibularis Hsia and Fan. Altitudinal distributions among the three Reticulitermes termites tended to differ: R. flaviceps adapted to low hills, but R. kanmonensis and R. leptomandibularis occurred in medium mountainous areas. The combined data, including haplotype diversities and distribution range, suggest that 1) R. flaviceps is an endemic species and only found in Taiwan; 2) R. kanmonensis and R. leptomandibularis are both native species in Taiwan and China; 3) Japanese R. kanmonensis populations originated from southern China and/or Taiwan and that Korean populations were possibly introduced from Japan.
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Database assignments for author(s): Hou-Feng Li

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Reticulitermes flaviceps Taiwan
Reticulitermes kanmonensis Japan
Reticulitermes kanmonensis Taiwan
Reticulitermes leptomandibularis Taiwan