Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

First interception of two wood feeding potential invasive Coptotermes termite species in India.

Abstract

Several termite species are significant economic pests, causing damage to wood in both man-made structures and also in forest ecosystem. The species belongs to genus Coptotermes (Rhinotermitidae: Isoptera: Blattodea) are widespread and few of them are among the world's most dangerous wood pests. Two species of Coptotermes were collected, identified and described from yemene, mora and tali logs imported from Columbia, Suriname and Equitorial Guinea. These two intercepted species are non-native to India which are Coptotermes testaceus (Linnaeus) and Coptotermes sjöstedti Holmgren. Identification was initially made with morphological characters and then with molecular DNA barcoding for a 348 bp fragment of 16S rRNA gene. Maximum likelihood Phylogenetic analysis results showed that data recovered as monophyletic which confirms the species identity. Coptotermes testaceus and C. sjöstedti are in single clade. Coptotermes testaceus is neotropical in origin and C. sjöstedti is native to Africa. Both the species are known to be serious pests in human habitats and forest ecosystem in the regions of their distributions. This first interception suggests possible chances of entry and establishment in India and provides an important alert for authorities concerned to take the necessary steps in monitoring and preventing its possible introduction. The importance of quarantine and potential infliction of damage they may cause if unnoticed and future measures to be taken are discussed.