Genetic diversity and colony breeding structure in native and introduced ranges of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Academic Article uri icon


  • The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus is recognized as one of the most important invasive pest species. Originating from China, C. formosanus has spread to many tropical and subtropical regions around the globe in the last 400 years, including Japan, Hawaii and the continental USA. Although the current distribution is well documented, information about the patterns of invasion and effects of introduction on the population genetics of this species is largely lacking. We analyzed the genetic structure of populations from two native populations (Guangdong and Hunan provinces, China) and two introduced populations (Maui and Kauai, Hawaii) using microsatellite genotyping. We also reanalyzed published data of additional populations from China, Japan, Hawaii, and the continental USA. The population from Hunan, the earliest introduction outside of China (Japan) and the first introduction to the continental USA (South Carolina) showed little genetic similarity with any of the native or introduced populations investigated. However, populations from Oahu (HI), New Orleans (LA) and Rutherford County (NC) showed close similarity. In general, genetic patterns suggest multiple introductions to the USA, with, for example, two separate introductions to the island of Maui. Bottleneck effects were detected in almost all recent introductions (after 1940). All populations in the introduced range showed lower genetic diversity than those in the native range. However, this low genetic diversity did not result in the formation of polygynous supercolonies as has been described for other invasive termite and ant species. 2011 The Author(s).

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Husseneder, C., Simms, D. M., Delatte, J. R., Wang, C., Grace, J. K., & Vargo, E. L.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Husseneder, Claudia||Simms, Dawn M||Delatte, Jennifer R||Wang, Changlu||Grace, J Kenneth||Vargo, Edward L

publication date

  • February 2012