The Formosan subterranean termite, (Su and Scheffrahn, 2013)is native to China in the Palearctic region, and has since been introduced to many other regions of the world. was first reported to have been transported to Japan in the 1600’s from the southern fourteen provinces of China, and was later recorded to have infested Hawaii in the late 1800’s. It was then reported around 1950 to have invaded Africa. In 1960 began to appear in the United States and, as of 2010, it is distributed mainly throughout the southeast area of the nation. Most inhabitants are found populating much of Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina, with a smaller influence in Tennessee. also inhabits small parts of Hawaii and is isolated in San Diego County of California.
(Su, 2006)lives in nests underground. Its nests are made up of a specialized material it makes itself called carton. When in final form the nest can appear as a typical rocky structure due to the look and texture of carton. They may also be very large in size, housing hundreds of thousands of termites in a single colony. The carton that is used to make up the nests is comprised of soil, chewed wood or plant matter, and the termite's own saliva and fecal matter. Formosan subterranean termites dwell in moist environments and can be found in forests as well as some urban areas. If the moisture levels are not right underground, may build nests above ground in areas where moisture levels are high. More common areas where they can find moisture are on man-made structures such as boats, porches, flat rooftops, or gutters. If there is an area with food for them and plenty of moisture, they will attempt to inhabit that area. has been known to even thrive in the trunks of trees, both dead and alive, as well as in the walls of homes and buildings. If these termite find the right environment, their colonies will more than likely thrive.
termites have specialized roles in their colonies, typically workers, soldiers, and alates/reproductives. Soldiers are typically described as having an orange-brown oval-shaped head with an off white colored body and black mandibles. soldiers also possesses a fontanel gland on the front of the head that, when disturbed, secretes a small amount of defensive fluid.
Workers of this species are hard to distinguish from other termite species. These worker termites are generally all off-white with antennas and an anatomy similar to ants.
After mating has occurred a female finds a moist crevice, typically in wood, to lay her eggs. Mating and fertilization take a few days, after which an average of fifteen to twenty eggs are laid, which then take anywhere between two to four weeks to hatch into young termites. The female and male must take care of this first batch of nymphs. They are cared for until they reach the third instar, where they differentiate into workers, soldiers, or alates. One to two months later, a new generation may begin. This time, the workers from the first batch will take over brood care. ("Coptotermes formosanus", 2014)
The initial batch of 15 to 20 eggs that the queen lays will hatch in a few weeks. The king and queen are solely responsible for the care of their first brood. The queen and king continue to mate and the queen lays more eggs, as the first offspring differentiate into their castes. Workers will take over brood care, providing food to the larvae and care to the eggs. The queen will continue to lay eggs throughout her life, causing the colony to swell in size. Once the colony reaches a certain size, or if the queen dies, more reproductives, known as secondary reproductives, may be added upon demand. Three to five years of reproduction may be necessary to create a substantial colony that causes damage. (Su and Scheffrahn, 2013; Su, 2006)
As eusocial insects, there is significant parental care in (Su, 2006)colonies. After the initial hatching of eggs in a new colony, the queen and king are responsible for growth and safety of young termites until they mature. As the colony grows, workers are responsible for brood care of the larvae. They tend the eggs and feed the larvae. This care is essential for the survival of the brood to adulthood.
The queen in the colony of termites can have a lifespan of up to 15 years. Other individuals in the colony, such as workers, likely live for a significantly shorter amount of time. ("Coptotermes formosanus", 2011)
The Formosan subterranean termite is successful as an invasive species for two major reasons: they are socially flexible and have a good spatial organization of their colonies. Similar to other termites,begin the growth of their colonies with a king and queen termite pair that mates and produces offspring. The queen lays her first group of eggs in the soil, waits for them to hatch, and then lays her second group of eggs. During their larval stage, the offspring differentiate into castes. As eusocial insects, there is a division of labor within the colony. Offspring grow to be workers, soldiers, or reproductives. Reproductives will leave the colony, find mates, and begin new colonies. Soldiers defend the colony against predators. Workers are responsible for all other tasks, including brood care, maintaining the nest, and foraging for food.
Each colony, in time, expands over an area of approximately 50 meters or more from the original nest.is also successful as an invasive species due to the huge size of their colonies, containing hundreds of thousands of individuals. Some colonies do get sectioned off from the main colony, known as buds, but often adopt unrelated termites into their bud. Their acceptance of others into the colonies allows for great variation and growth in this species.
Pheromones are an essential form of communication between (Jordan and Lax, 2014)individuals. Pheromones are used by alates to attract mates. Termite queens also produce pheromones that aid in keeping the other individuals in the colony functioning and effective.
When alates are swarming, they are particularly vulnerable to predation. General predators of ("Coptotermes formosanus", 2014)include ants, lizards, toads, and birds.
There are no known positive effects ofon humans.
The Formosan subterranean termite is infamous for the destruction it can cause to trees, buildings, and wooden structures. It has caused damage worldwide, and is causing more and more damage recently throughout the United States. Household conditions in the United States are perfect shelters for (Hu, 2003; Su, 2006)because of their wooden structures and central heating systems, which provide a warm environment for the termites during winter months. works at a rapid pace when it comes to tunneling throughout homes, causing major damage in just six months and total damage within two years. This species is harmful to trees, too, hollowing them out and filling in the space with their nests. Due to the potential damage can cause, people spend great amounts of money on termiticides and pest controls in order to prevent or stop the termite infestations. United States citizens spend an estimated $1 billion per year trying to prevent them, as well as repairing damages caused by them.
(Su, 2006)has no special conservation status. Instead, it is an invasive species in many areas of that world that causes a significant amount of economic damage.
Andrew Elbe (author), Grand View University, Kylar McCann (author), Grand View University, Raquel Relph (author), Grand View University, Felicitas Avendano (editor), Grand View University, Dan Chibnall (editor), Grand View University, Angela Miner (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
helps break down and decompose dead plants and/or animals
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
the condition in which individuals in a group display each of the following three traits: cooperative care of young; some individuals in the group give up reproduction and specialize in care of young; overlap of at least two generations of life stages capable of contributing to colony labor
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
Referring to a burrowing life-style or behavior, specialized for digging or burrowing.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
fertilization takes place within the female's body
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
parental care is carried out by males
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.
breeding takes place throughout the year
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Hussender, C., M. Messenger, N. Su, J. Grace, E. Vargo. 2005. Colony Social Organization and Population Genetic Structure of an Introduced Population of Formosan Subterranean Termite from New Orleans, Louisiana. Journal of Economic Entomology, 98/5: 1421-1434.
Jordan, P., A. Lax. 2014. "The Formosan Termite A Formidable Foe!" (On-line). United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed March 12, 2014 at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/oct98/term1098.htm.
Su, N., R. Scheffrahn. 2013. "Formosan Subterranean Termite" (On-line). Formosan Subterranean Termite. Accessed March 10, 2014 at http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/termites/formosan_termite.htm.
Texas A&M Department of Entomology, 2010. "http://urbanentomology.tamu.edu/wdi/termites/formosan.html." (On-line). Texas A&M Agrilife. Accessed March 10, 2014 at