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Ability of Field Populations of Coptotermes spp., Reticulitermes flavipes, and Mastotermes darwiniensis (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae; Mastotermitidae) to Damage Plastic Cable Sheathings

Lenz, Michael, Kard, Brad, Creffield, James W., Evans, Theodore A., Brown, Kenneth S., Freytag, Edward D., Zhong, Jun-Hong, Lee, Chow-Yang, Yeoh, Boon-Hoi, Yoshimura, Tsuyoshi, Tsunoda, Kunio, Vongkaluang, Charunee, Sornnuwat, Yupaporn, Roland, Ted A., Santi, Marie Pommier De
Journal of economic entomology 2013 v.106 no.3 pp. 1395-1403
Coptotermes acinaciformis, Coptotermes formosanus, Coptotermes gestroi, Mastotermes darwiniensis, Reticulitermes flavipes, fauna, plastics, subterranean termites, Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, United States
A comparative field study was conducted to evaluate the ability of subterranean termites to damage a set of four different plastic materials (cable sheathings) exposed below- and above-ground. Eight pest species from six countries were included, viz., Coptotermes formosanus (Shiraki) in China, Japan, and the United States; Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) in Thailand and Malaysia; Coptotermes curvignathus (Holmgren) and Coptotermes kalshoveni (Kemner) in Malaysia; Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt) with two forms of the species complex and Mastotermes darwiniensis (Froggatt) in Australia; and Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) in the United States. Termite species were separated into four tiers relative to decreasing ability to damage plastics. The first tier, most damaging, included C. acinaciformis, mound-building form, and M. darwiniensis, both from tropical Australia. The second tier included C. acinaciformis, tree-nesting form, from temperate Australia and C. kalshoveni from Southeast Asia. The third tier included C. curvignathus and C. gestroi from Southeast Asia and C. formosanus from China, Japan, and the United States, whereas the fourth tier included only R. flavipes, which caused no damage. A consequence of these results is that plastics considered resistant to termite damage in some locations will not be so in others because of differences in the termite fauna, for example, resistant plastics from the United States and Japan will require further testing in Southeast Asia and Australia. However, plastics considered resistant in Australia will be resistant in all other locations.