Reticulitermes (Ins., Isopt.) in Central and Western Europe
IRG/WP I 5A
Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) has established itself in Hamburg and Hallein coming from the east of North America. In France, on the northern boundary of termit occurrence, Reticulitermes santonensis are distinguished from Reticulitermes lucifugus by special activity and resistance. According to comparative investigations with colonies of several Reticulitermes species of different origins regarding the influence of temperature and soil moisture on the feeding activity and the viability of termite groups, Reticulitermes flavipes from Hamburg and one originating from Wisconsin (USA) show racial differences from the Hallein species originating from South Carolina. The first shows a daily rhythm of activity and are strong gallery builders, while the two latter lack these properties. Certain morphological differences may be correlative to the two bio-ecological races of Reticulitermes flavipes. Reticulitermes santonensis shows biologically and ecologically far greater similarity with Reticulitermes flavipes from Hamburg and Wisconsin than with Reticulitermes lucifugus. The samples from La Rochelle have symbiotic flagellate species which were otherwise only found either with Reticulitermes lucifugus or with the American Reticulitermes species. Morphologically the species occupies an intermediate position. Reticulitermes santonensis is likely to be a hybrid of Reticulitermes flavipes and Reticulitermes lucifugus, with the properties of a vigorous hybrid. So far it has been impossible to explain why up to now only Reticulitermes flavipes was able to establish itself sporadically in Central and West Europe.