Redescription of Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae), with three new synonyms from China

Chen Guan-Yu, Ke Yun-Ling, Liang Wei-Ren, Li Hou-Feng
Acta Entomologica Musei Nationalis Pragae 60(2): 599-608, 2020
Published online: 10th November 2020
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Abstract: The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, 1909, is an important structural pest in Mainland China, Japan, Taiwan, Bahamas, and the United States. Coptotermes formosanus was first described in Japanese, and the morphological description was too simple for congeneric species differentiation, resulting in confusion in species identification. To date, ten junior synonyms of C. formosanus have been reported. To avoid further confusion, we redescribed C. formosanus based on the type specimen and the specimens from the type locality, Taiwan. Most of the Coptotermes Wasmann, 1896 taxonomy has been clarified worldwide and the Chinese case remains an outlier, with many species that need to be revised. We further examined the taxonomic statuses of four Chinese species, C. changtaiensis Xia & He, 1986, C. hekouensis Xia & He, 1986, C. shanghaiensis Xia & He, 1986, and C. suzhouensis Xia & He, 1986. We proposed that C. changtaiensis, C. hekouensis, and C. suzhouensis are the junior synonyms of C. formosanus. Even though the morphological characters of C. shanghaiensis are similar to C. formosanus, the body size of the former is significantly smaller. Additional Coptotermes samples collected from the Shanghai area would be required for the taxonomic status of C. shanghaiensis to be confirmed.
Key words: Blattodea, Isoptera, Rhinotermitidae, taxonomy, synonym, China, Taiwan
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