The breeding system and population structure of the termite Reticulitermes grassei in Southwestern France. Academic Article uri icon


  • We assessed colony and population structure in three French populations of the termite Reticulitermes grassei using eight polymorphic microsatellite loci. Although most colonies contained the offspring of multiple, highly related replacement reproductives (complex families), some contained the offspring of a single pair of reproductives (simple families), and the proportion of such colonies varied across populations. Populations also showed variability in the numbers of reproductives within complex families; the F-statistics of these families in one population were consistent with having upwards of 100 replacement reproductives, while in another population these colonies contained fewer than 10 pairs of reproductives. Colony boundaries in all populations were well defined, in spite of reports of a widespread breakdown in nestmate recognition and unicolonial populations of R. grassei from these regions in France. A second unexpected finding was a lack of significant isolation by distance among colonies within populations, indicating that colony reproduction by budding was rare or absent. The lack of this form of colony reproduction even within populations where it is expected to be common suggested that the propensity for colony budding may not be as common as suggested by the literature.

published proceedings

  • Heredity (Edinb)

author list (cited authors)

  • DeHeer, C. J., Kutnik, M., Vargo, E. L., & Bagnres, A.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • DeHeer, CJ||Kutnik, M||Vargo, EL||Bagnères, A-G

publication date

  • January 2005