Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:05 AM

Subterranean termites of Missouri's woodlands and urban environments: An approximation to geographical distribution and diversity based on morphology of soldiers and 16S rRNA analysis

Olga Patricia Pinzon F,, Universidad Distrital Francisco Jose de Caldas- University of Missouri, Ag. Building 1-31, Columbia, MO, Columbia, MO and Richard Houseman,, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1-31 Agriculture Bldg, Columbia, MO.

Most of the current available data of Reticulitermes distribution in the United States is based on samples gathered from home infestations, but little is known about populations inhabiting undisturbed environments. In particular, Missouriís subterranean termite faunal composition and geographical distribution needs to be updated and clarified since some of the registers are more than 50 years old and others provide conflicting information regarding occurrence and distribution of the species and do no represent all the environments of the state that are favorable for termite development. Approximately 500 samples of termite colonies were collected during 2004 and 2005 in nine conservation areas, nine cities located nearby, and from home infestations occurring in different locations within the state of Missouri. Reticulitermes flavipes, Reticulitermes hageni, Reticulitermes virginicus and Reticulitermes tibialis were found occurring in Missouri. The geographic distribution inferred from our sampling for the species R. hageni, R. virginicus and R. tibialis differ with previous registers within the state. Based on a 428 bp 16S RNA amplicon, twenty one haplotypes were found in R. flavipes, three in R.hageni, four in R. virginicus, and five in R. tibialis. R. flavipes highest haplotype diversity was sampled in urban environments, R. hageni highest diversity was sampled in woodlands and R. virginicus and R. tibialis highest diversity occurred in home infestations. In addition, R. flavipes and R. hageni differ in frequency of occurrence in three woodlands, suggesting influence of seasons on surface foraging behavior of these two species.

Species 1: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Reticulitermes flavipes (eastern subterranean termite)
Species 2: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Reticulitermes hageni
Species 3: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Reticulitermes virginicus