Surveying the invasive termite, Coptotermes gestroi (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae), in different altitudes of the Experimental Forest of National Taiwan University.
Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) is a world-wide distributed termite pest of urban areas and forests, and has established self-sustaining populations in urban areas and the low-altitude forests of southern and central Taiwan. Coptotermes gestroi are potentially spreading to mid- and high-altitude areas and further damage Taiwanese forests. To understand the current distribution of C. gestroi, we investigated termite species composition by using Malaise traps at 11 localities of different altitudes, namely Xiaping Tropical Botanical Garden (135 m alt.), Shuili Wood Utilization Center (338 m alt.), Shuili Hsing-Lung Elementary School (404 m alt.), Qlingshuigou Arboretum (434 m alt.), Youshuikeng (818 m alt.), Heshe pine-bamboo-plum trail (860 m alt.), Liulongtou (1,770 m alt.), Shalixian forest-road (1,805 m alt.), Tataka spruce forest (Picea morrisonicola) (2,550 m alt.), hemlock forest (Tsuga chinensis) (2,694 m alt.) and Yushan-cane meadow (Yushania niitakayamensis) (2,706 m alt.). Termite alates collected in Malaise traps were checked from January 2016 to December 2017. The distribution of C. gestroi was inferred by comparing their occurrences among different localities. With a total of 37 samples of termite alates collected, including 3 families and 7 genera, Coptotermes gestroi was found only at locality of 135 m alt., while the other species of termites were found at localities in the range of 135-860 m alt. These results indicated that C. gestroi population has not established in mountain areas of mid- and high-altitudes.