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    Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are valuable characters for the analysis of cryptic insect species with few discernible morphological characters. Yet, their use in insect systematics, speciWcally in subterranean termites in the genus Reticulitermes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), remains controversial. In this paper, we show that taxonomic designations in Reticulitermes from California (USA) suggested in light of diVerences among CHC phenotypes are corroborated by phylogenetic analyses using mtDNA sequences. Analyses based on CHC phenotypes and supported, in part, by behavioral and ecological diVerences have suggested the presence of more species than the two currently recognized: R. hesperus Banks and R. tibialis Banks. We analyze a 680 base pair fragment of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase (COII) gene from 45 new (21 collection localities) and two previously recorded samples of Reticulitermes from California using parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Both methods result in trees with highly similar topologies. Bootstrapping indicates support for six clades of Reticulitermes, and corroborates groupings based on cuticular hydrocarbons. One of the clades, R. hesperus, is already recognized in California, while four clades appear to be previously undescribed taxa. Although identiWcation of the Wnal clade is inconclusive, it includes a sample putatively identiWed as R. tibialis. Therefore, using phylogenetic analyses we corroborate chemical characters used to identify taxa, associate a chemical phenotype with a previously described species, and provide additional support for undescribed taxa of Reticulitermes.

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    Copren, Kirsten A.; Nelson, Lori J.; Vargo, Edward L.; Haverty, Michael I. 2005. Phylogenetic analyses of mtDNA sequences corroborate taxonomic designations based on cuticular hydrocarbons in subterranean termites. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 35(3): 689-700.


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    Western subterranean termite, Cryptic species, Cuticular hydrocarbons, COII, Phylogenetics, Reticulitermes

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