Invasive Termites

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


When the first comprehensive review of introduced termites was made in 1967, 17 species could be considered invasive using modern definitions. The current number is 26 species: 11 are new, 10 have larger distributions, four have no change in distribution, and one species is uncertain possibly eradicated. Invasive species share three characteristics: wood for food, nesting in food, and a high capacity to generate secondary reproductives. These characteristics combine to increase probability of transportation of viable propagules and are most prevalent in two families, the Kalotermitidae and Rhinotermitidae, which comprise 85% of invasive species. Three genera, Cryptotermes, Heterotermes and Coptotermes, comprise over half (58%) of all invasive species. The largest termite family, the Termitidae, has relatively few species with these characteristics, and is underrepresented. Islands have double the invasive species typical of continents, with islands in the South Pacific the most invaded geographical region. In contrast to earlier findings and in part due to better identification methods and greater elapsed time since introduction, invasive species are now confirmed to colonise natural habitats and have inland distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiology of termites: a modern synthesis
EditorsDE Bignell, Y Roisin, N Lo
Number of pages44
ISBN (Print)978-90-481-3976-7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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