Mites and Nematodes Associated with Three Subterranean Termite Species (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

  • Changlu Wang
  • Janine E. Powell
  • Barry M. O'Connor


Mites and nematodes associated with three subterranean termite species, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), Reticulitermes virginicus (Banks), and Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki were studied. Mites belonging to 8 families were found associated with the three termite species. Australhypopus sp. (Acari: Acaridae) was the most common mite on R. flavipes and R. virginicus. Histiostoma formosana Phillipsen and Coppel (Acari: Acaridae) was the dominant mite species living on C. formosanus. Nematode, Rhabditis sp. (Rhabditida: Rhabditidae) was found in the three termite species examined. Nematodes did not cause termite mortality or abnormal behavior. Percentages of R. flavipes, R. virginicus, and C. formosanus parasitized by nematodes were 67.9, 38.8, and 3.3%, respectively. The nematodes were found mainly in the termite heads (85.8% in R. flavipes and R. virginicus). The abundance of mites varied with colonies and termite species. Australhypopus sp. occurred in large numbers when injured or dead termites are present, or when moisture of the rearing medium is low in R. flavipes and R. virginicus colonies. Histiostoma formosana and Cosmoglyphus absoloniSam i ák occurred in large numbers in C. formosanus colonies. Australhypopus sp. was tested against R. flavipes in the laboratory. It did not cause significant termite mortality at a rate of 10 mites/termite. From a biological point of view, mites investigated were not good candidates for controlling termites.

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