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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Sustainable Pest Management Strategies for Arid-land Crops

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: Population genetic structure and colony breeding system in dampwood termites (Zootermopsis angusticollis and Z. nevadensis nuttingi)

Authors
item Booth, Warren -
item BRENT, COLIN
item Calleri, Daniel -
item Rosengaus, Reneca -
item Traniello, James -
item Vargo, Edward -

Submitted to: Insectes Sociaux
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 9, 2011
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Citation: Booth, W., Brent, C.S., Calleri, D.V., Rosengaus, R.B., Traniello, J.F., Vargo, E.L. 2011. Population genetic structure and colony breeding system in dampwood termites (Zootermopsis angusticollis and Z. nevadensis nuttingi). Insectes Sociaux. 59:127-137.

Interpretive Summary: Studies describing the population genetic structure and breeding system of basal lineages of termite species remain rare. Such species, however, may reveal ancestral life history attributes that could have shaped their social evolution. Through the development and application of microsatellite DNA loci, we investigated patterns of genetic differences within the dampwood termite Zootermopsis angusticollis collected from three locations in California, U.S.A. Genetic evidence suggests that habitat characteristics may restrict long-range dispersal, and that simple (single pair of mating adults), extended (multiple related mating adults), and mixed family (multiple unrelated mating adults) colonies occur. The latter occurred with the lowest frequency. Estimates of relatedness within colonies suggest that inbreeding in colony founders is high, and that the number of replacement reproductives within extended families is low.

Technical Abstract: Studies describing the population genetic structure and breeding system of basal lineages of termite species remain rare. Such species, however, may reveal ancestral life history attributes potentially influential in the evolution of eusociality within the Order Isoptera. Through the development and application of microsatellite DNA loci, we investigated patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation within the dampwood termite Zootermopsis angusticollis collected from three geographically distinct locations in California, U.S.A. Significant genetic differentiation was found among all sites located from 40 to 150 km apart, with each found to represent unique populations with limited levels of gene flow. While Z. angusticollis alates have previously been described as being strong fliers, genetic evidence suggests habitat characteristics may restrict long-range dispersal. Additionally, we characterize patterns of colony genetic structure and breeding system within both Z. angusticollis and its congener Z. nevadensis nuttingi. In Z. angusticollis, simple, extended, and mixed family colonies were observed. The frequency of simple families ranged from 16% to 64%, whereas mixed families were found in only two locations and at low frequencies. In contrast, Z. n. nuttingi, formed primarily extended family colonies. Estimates of relatedness suggest that within simple families inbreeding in colony founders is high. Additionally, within extended families of both species the effective number of neotenic reproductives appears to be low.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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