Invasive Termites

  • Theodore A. EvansEmail author


When the first comprehensive review of introduced termites was made in 1967, 17 species could be considered invasive using modern definitions. The current number is 26 species: 11 are new, 10 have larger distributions, four have no change in distribution, and one species is uncertain – possibly eradicated. Invasive species share three characteristics: wood for food, nesting in food, and a high capacity to generate secondary reproductives. These characteristics combine to increase probability of transportation of viable propagules and are most prevalent in two families, the Kalotermitidae and Rhinotermitidae, which comprise 85% of invasive species. Three genera, Cryptotermes, Heterotermes and Coptotermes, comprise over half (58%) of all invasive species. The largest termite family, the Termitidae, has relatively few species with these characteristics, and is underrepresented. Islands have double the invasive species typical of continents, with islands in the South Pacific the most invaded geographical region. In contrast to earlier findings and in part due to better identification methods and greater elapsed time since introduction, invasive species are now confirmed to colonise natural habitats and have inland distributions.


Invasive Species South Atlantic Ocean Australian Species Termite Species High Termite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Rudi Scheffrahn (University of Florida) for suggesting the topic of this chapter and for providing notes from his extensive surveys of termites in the Americas. I thank many people for providing their published and unpublished information: Ana Maria Costa Leonardo (Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil); Laurence Kirton (Forest Research Institute Malaysia), Chow-Yang Lee (Universiti Sains Malaysia), Jannette Mitchell (Agricultural Research Council, South Africa), Jianchu Mo (Zhejiang University, China), Tim Myles (City of Guelph, Canada), Brenton Peters (Department of Primary Industry, Queensland, Australia), Chris Stowe (New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry), Brian Thistleton (Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry, Australia), Vivience Uys (South African National Collection of Insects), Tsuyoshi Yoshimura (Kyoto University, Japan), and Junhong Zhong (Guangdong Entomological Institute, China). I thank Patrick Gleeson (CSIRO) for his assistance finding references, and the editors for their patience and assistance.


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© Springer Netherlands 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIRO Division of EntomologyCanberraAustralia

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