Proliferation of the invasive termite Coptotermes gestroi (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) on Grand Cayman and overall termite diversity on the Cayman Islands.
The Asian subterranean termite, Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), was discovered on Grand Cayman Island in 2000 and, by 2014, had been recorded from 102 land-based localities. These data were used in a hierarchical cluster analysis to identify homogeneous clusters of sites to estimate separate introduction points on the island. Results suggest 4 separate introductions of C. gestroi to Grand Cayman by boat and 1 by land transport from other previously infested parts of the island. The infestations by boat could be either primary introductions (originating from another island) or secondary introductions (originating from other previously infested parts of Grand Cayman). An individual-based model was used to simulate non-anthropogenic spread of C. gestroi over Grand Cayman from 2014 to 2050. The model predicts that by 2050, most of the western part of Grand Cayman will likely be heavily infested by C. gestroi, whereas patches of unsuitable habitat restrict the expansion of the species over the central and eastern parts of the island. In the absence of further human introductions, it will likely take a century for C. gestroi to saturate the island by natural dispersal only. Based on detailed termite diversity surveys, we provide updated records for 14 termite species, collectively, on Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac.