Intracolony Morphometric Variation and Labral Shape in Florida Reticulitermes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) Soldiers: Significance for Identification

  • Niklaus C. Hostettler
  • Donald W. Hall
  • Rudolf H. Scheffrahn


Measurements of pronotal width, broadest gular width, and labral length of Reticulitermes soldiers collected in San Felasco State Preserve, Florida, showed considerable intracolony variation and interspecific overlap. The termites collected did not differ in size from termites collected state wide. The reported 0.81 mm pronotal width threshold failed to separate soldiers of R. flavipes from R. virginicus. An average pronotal width measurement (n<5) > or equal to 0.90 mm denotes R. flavipes, < or equal to 0.70 mm R. hageni, and 0.71 - 0.80 mm R. virginicus. A threshold at 0.85 mm (n>5) separates R. flavipes from R. virginicus. A new character, labral shape, was found to be very reliable for separating the three species.
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