Revisiting Coptotermes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae): a global taxonomic road map for species validity and distribution of an economically important subterranean termite genus

Chouvenc, Thomas, Li, Hou-Feng, Austin, James, Bordereau, Christian, Bourguignon, Thomas, Cameron, Stephen L., Cancello, Eliana M., Constantino, Reginaldo, Leonardo, Ana Maria Costa, Eggleton, Paul, Evans, Theodore A., Forschler, Brian, Grace, J. Kenneth, Husseneder, Claudia, Recek, Jan K., Lee, Chow-Yang, Lee, Timothy, Lo, Nathan, Messenger, Matthew, Mullins, Aaron, Robert, Alain, Roisin, Yves, Scheffrahn, Rudolf H., Sillam-Dusses, David, Šobotník, Jan, Szalanski, Allen, Takematsu, Yoko, Vargo, Edward L., Yamada, Akinori, & Su, Nan-Yao (2015) Revisiting Coptotermes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae): a global taxonomic road map for species validity and distribution of an economically important subterranean termite genus. Systematic Entomology, 41(2), pp. 299-306.

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Coptotermes Wasmann (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) is one of the most economically important subterranean termite genera and some species are successful invaders. However, despite its important pest status, the taxonomic validity of many named Coptotermes species remains unclear. In this study, we reviewed all named species within the genus and investigated evidence supporting the validity of each named species. Species were systematically scrutinized according to the region of their original description: Southeast Asia, India, China, Africa, the Neotropics, and Australia. We estimate that of the currently 69 named species described by accepted nomenclatural rules, only 21 taxa have solid evidence for validity, 44 names have uncertain status, and the remaining species names should be synonymized or were made unavailable. Species with high degrees of invasiveness may be known under additional junior synonyms due to independent parochial descriptions. Molecular data for a vast majority of species are scarce and significant effort is needed to complete the taxonomic and phylogenetic revision of the genus. Because of the wide distribution of Coptotermes, we advocate for an integrative taxonomic effort to establish the distribution of each putative species, provide specimens and corresponding molecular data, check original descriptions and type specimens (if available), and provide evidence for a more robust phylogenetic position of each species. This study embodies both consensus and contention of those studying Coptotermes and thus pinpoints the current uncertainty of many species. This project is intended to be a roadmap for identifying those Coptotermes species names that need to be more thoroughly investigated, as an incentive to complete a necessary revision process.

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ID Code: 95488
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Coptotermes Wasmann, Distribution of species, Coptotermes species names
DOI: 10.1111/syen.12157
ISSN: 0307-6970
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: 2015 The Royal Entomological Society
Deposited On: 11 May 2016 23:02
Last Modified: 12 May 2016 21:50

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