Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 7, pp 1579–1587 | Cite as

Foraging choice and replacement reproductives facilitate invasiveness in drywood termites

  • Theodore A. EvansEmail author
  • Ra Inta
  • Joseph C. S. Lai
Original Paper


All highly cryptic drywood termites derive their food and water from a single piece of wood. Despite the fact that most species share the same life cycles, only a few have become invasive tramp species. Variation in production of replacement reproductives and food size choice were determined for nine species of the important drywood genus Cryptotermes in a test with two different sized wooden blocks. Four native, non-pest species produced one or two reproductives, gnawed short tunnels and chose large blocks; four tramp pest species produced three or four reproductives, gnawed long tunnels and two species chose small blocks whereas the other two species chose both blocks; the ninth species, a native pest, was similar to tramp species. Longer tunnels and more replacement reproductives corresponded with pest status, acceptance of small blocks with tramp status. Although counter-intuitive, the foraging acceptance or preference for small blocks of wood corresponds with higher propagule pressure and an increased chance of (unwitting) human assisted transport, and therefore may be an important factor in determining tramp status of drywood termite species.


Cryptotermes Invasive species Secondary reproductive Propagule pressure 



We thank Aaron Barrett and Patrick Gleeson for their help with bioassays, and the financial support of the Australian Research Council under the Discovery Project Scheme (project DP0449825) and the Linkage Project Scheme (project LP0669638).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore A. Evans
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ra Inta
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Joseph C. S. Lai
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO EntomologyCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.School of Engineering and Information TechnologyAustralian Defence Force Academy, University of New South WalesCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Quantum Science and Physics Education Centre, Research School of Physics and EngineeringAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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