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Cuticular Hydrocarbons: Species and Population-Level Discrimination in TermitesAuthor(s): Michael I. Haverty; Marion Page; Barbara L. Thorne; Pierre Escoubas
Source: In: Haverty, Michael I.; Wilcox, W. Wayne, technical coordinators. 1991. Proceedings of the symposium on current research on wood-destroying organisms and future prospects for protecting wood in use; September 13, 1989; Bend, OR. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-128. Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 15-23
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (499 KB)
DescriptionHydrocarbons in the cuticle of insects are essential in protecting them from desiccation. The vast variety of hydrocarbons synthesized by insects and the apparent species-specificity of cuticular hydrocarbon mixtures make them excellent taxonomic characters for separating species within termite genera. Hydrocarbon phenotypes of dampwood termites, Zootermopsis, correspond to species diagnoses. A morphological character, the subsidiary tooth of the right mandible, was found that correlates exactly with the hydrocarbon phenotypes of the three described species of Zootermopsis. Two distinct hydrocarbon phenotypes within Z. nevadensis have been used to identify a new subspecies, Z. n. nuttingi, which is morphologically indistinguishable from its conspecific, Z. n. nevadensis. This subspecies designation was corroborated with studies of agonistic behavior. Preliminary data suggest that cuticular hydrocarbons might be similarly used to sort specimens and to search for morphological characters within the subterranean termite genus Reticulitermes. This may facilitate a revision of this important genus. Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles enabled population-level discrimination of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, from different geographic locations.
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CitationHaverty, Michael I.; Page, Marion; Thorne,Barbara L.; Escoubas, Pierre. 1991. Cuticular Hydrocarbons: Species and Population-Level Discrimination in Termites. In: Haverty, Michael I.; Wilcox, W. Wayne, technical coordinators. 1991. Proceedings of the symposium on current research on wood-destroying organisms and future prospects for protecting wood in use; September 13, 1989; Bend, OR. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-128. Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 15-23
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