Applied Entomology and Zoology

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 215–221 | Cite as

Chemical and molecular identification of the invasive termite Zootermopsis nevadensis (Isoptera: Archotermopsidae) in Japan

  • Toshihisa Yashiro
  • Yuki Mitaka
  • Tomonari Nozaki
  • Kenji Matsuura
Original Research Paper


Numerous termite species have been introduced outside their native ranges by human transport, and some have become invasive. The dampwood termite Zootermopsis nevadensis (Hagen), which is native to western North America, has been introduced to and become established in Kawanishi City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Zootermopsis nevadensis is subdivided into two subspecies based on cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) phenotypes: Znevadensis nevadensis and Znevadensis nuttingi (Haverty and Thorne). Here, we identified Znevadensis in Japan as hybrids between the two subspecies. Chemical analysis showed the presence of 7,15-dimethylhenicosane and 5,17-dimethylhenicosane in the CHCs of Znevadensis in Japan, corresponding to the CHC phenotype of Znnevadensis. Conversely, all mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I sequences of Znevadensis in Japan were identical to sequences from Znnuttingi and hybrids between the two subspecies from a native hybrid zone in California, USA. In addition, phylogenetic analysis showed that Znevadensis in Japan formed a clade with Znnuttingi and hybrids between the two subspecies. Our results show discordance between the chemical and genetic features of Znevadensis in Japan, indicating that individuals of Znevadensis in Japan are hybrids between the two subspecies.


Biological invasions Hybridization Social insects Isoptera 



We thank Naoto Yoshioka for termite collection; Naoki Mori for providing GC–MS facilities; Nathan Lo for helpful discussion. This work was partly supported by Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Kiban Kenkyu S Grant No. 25221206 (to K.M.), and a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research Abroad No. 558 (to T.Y).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Insect Ecology, Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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