, Volume 96, Issue 2, pp 289–295 | Cite as

A giant termite from the Late Miocene of Styria, Austria (Isoptera)

  • Michael S. EngelEmail author
  • Martin Gross
Original Paper


A giant termite is described and figured from the Late Miocene of the Styrian Basin in southeastern Austria. Gyatermes styriensis gen. n. et sp. n. is represented by a relatively complete forewing, with basal scale. The fossil approximates in size the largest of all termites today and is the largest fossil termite on record. The presence of this species in the Late Miocene fauna of Europe indicates that climatic conditions were appropriate for the persistence of species and colonies requiring relatively stable, warm conditions. The genus is primitive in overall features but shares some similarity with the dampwood termites.


Insecta Isoptera Termites Miocene Tertiary Austria 



It is our pleasure to dedicate this contribution to K. Krishna of the American Museum of Natural History (New York). Dr. Krishna is the reigning authority on the systematics of living and fossil termites and has laid the modern foundation upon which evolutionary work on the order is built. Financial support for this work was provided by National Science Foundation (USA) grant DEB-0542909 (to MSE). The illustration of the wing venation was executed by S. Taliaferro, made possible by the University of Kansas Engel Illustration Fund. We are also grateful to three anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. This is a contribution of the Division of Entomology, University of Kansas Natural History Museum.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Entomology (Paleoentomology), Natural History Museum, and Department of Ecology & Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Geologie & PaläontologieLandesmuseum JoanneumGrazAustria

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