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Hybridization of two major termite invaders as a consequence of human activity.

Chouvenc T, Helmick EE, Su NY - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Both species have spread throughout many areas of the world due to human activity; however, their distributions overlap in only three narrow areas because of distinct ecological requirements.In south Florida, where C. formosanus and C. gestroi are both invasive, the dispersal flight seasons of both species overlapped for the first time on record in 2013 and 2014.Pairings of heterospecific individuals were readily observed in the field and C. gestroi males preferentially engaged in mating behavior with C. formosanus females rather than females from their own species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Entomology and Nematology, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
While hybridization of an invasive species with a native species is a common occurrence, hybridization between two invasive species is rare. Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus) and Asian subterranean termites (C. gestroi) are both ecologically successful and are the two most economically important termite pests in the world. Both species have spread throughout many areas of the world due to human activity; however, their distributions overlap in only three narrow areas because of distinct ecological requirements. In south Florida, where C. formosanus and C. gestroi are both invasive, the dispersal flight seasons of both species overlapped for the first time on record in 2013 and 2014. Pairings of heterospecific individuals were readily observed in the field and C. gestroi males preferentially engaged in mating behavior with C. formosanus females rather than females from their own species. In the laboratory, heterospecific and conspecific pairings had an equal colony establishment rate, but heterospecific incipient colonies had twice the growth rate of conspecific incipient colonies, suggesting a potential case of hybrid vigor. As all pre-zygotic barriers were lifted between the two species in the field, the apparent absence of post-zygotic barriers in the laboratory raises the possibility for introgressive hybridization in south Florida. While laboratory observations remain to be confirmed in the field, and the alate hybrid fertility is currently unknown, our results raise a tangible concern about the hybridization of two major destructive pest species. Such hybridization would likely be associated with a new economic impact.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The distributions of C. formosanus and C. gestroi overlap in three areas in the word.From left to right: Taiwan, Hawaii, south Florida, according to [32,33] (modified for illustrative purpose only).
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pone.0120745.g001: The distributions of C. formosanus and C. gestroi overlap in three areas in the word.From left to right: Taiwan, Hawaii, south Florida, according to [32,33] (modified for illustrative purpose only).

Mentions: Coptotermes formosanus is endemic to China and Taiwan and has spread to many temperate and subtropical regions of the world [22]. It is now found throughout the southeastern United States and is responsible for more than $1 billion of structural damage each year in the United States alone [27]. Coptotermes gestroi is native to southeast Asia and has spread in many tropical regions, being potentially the most ubiquitous and destructive subterranean termite pest in the world [22]. Both species have distinct ecological requirements [28], but there are now established populations in many non-native areas due to human activity [29]. This observation reflects the current global biotic homogenization of some ecosystems, i.e. the replacement of native biotas by a small group of expanding non-native species in many parts of the world [30,31]. Their distributions now overlap in three narrow locations of the world [32,33]: the south part of the island of Taiwan, the island of Oahu in Hawaii, and southeast Florida (Fig. 1). However, studies concerning the interaction between C. formosanus and C. gestroi are restricted to competition between workers and soldiers from mature colonies, where individuals displayed interspecies agonism and competed for the access to resources [28,34]. The interspecies interactions of individuals from the reproductive caste (alates) have not yet been investigated.


Hybridization of two major termite invaders as a consequence of human activity.

Chouvenc T, Helmick EE, Su NY - PLoS ONE (2015)

The distributions of C. formosanus and C. gestroi overlap in three areas in the word.From left to right: Taiwan, Hawaii, south Florida, according to [32,33] (modified for illustrative purpose only).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4373762&req=5

pone.0120745.g001: The distributions of C. formosanus and C. gestroi overlap in three areas in the word.From left to right: Taiwan, Hawaii, south Florida, according to [32,33] (modified for illustrative purpose only).
Mentions: Coptotermes formosanus is endemic to China and Taiwan and has spread to many temperate and subtropical regions of the world [22]. It is now found throughout the southeastern United States and is responsible for more than $1 billion of structural damage each year in the United States alone [27]. Coptotermes gestroi is native to southeast Asia and has spread in many tropical regions, being potentially the most ubiquitous and destructive subterranean termite pest in the world [22]. Both species have distinct ecological requirements [28], but there are now established populations in many non-native areas due to human activity [29]. This observation reflects the current global biotic homogenization of some ecosystems, i.e. the replacement of native biotas by a small group of expanding non-native species in many parts of the world [30,31]. Their distributions now overlap in three narrow locations of the world [32,33]: the south part of the island of Taiwan, the island of Oahu in Hawaii, and southeast Florida (Fig. 1). However, studies concerning the interaction between C. formosanus and C. gestroi are restricted to competition between workers and soldiers from mature colonies, where individuals displayed interspecies agonism and competed for the access to resources [28,34]. The interspecies interactions of individuals from the reproductive caste (alates) have not yet been investigated.

Bottom Line: Both species have spread throughout many areas of the world due to human activity; however, their distributions overlap in only three narrow areas because of distinct ecological requirements.In south Florida, where C. formosanus and C. gestroi are both invasive, the dispersal flight seasons of both species overlapped for the first time on record in 2013 and 2014.Pairings of heterospecific individuals were readily observed in the field and C. gestroi males preferentially engaged in mating behavior with C. formosanus females rather than females from their own species.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Entomology and Nematology, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
While hybridization of an invasive species with a native species is a common occurrence, hybridization between two invasive species is rare. Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus) and Asian subterranean termites (C. gestroi) are both ecologically successful and are the two most economically important termite pests in the world. Both species have spread throughout many areas of the world due to human activity; however, their distributions overlap in only three narrow areas because of distinct ecological requirements. In south Florida, where C. formosanus and C. gestroi are both invasive, the dispersal flight seasons of both species overlapped for the first time on record in 2013 and 2014. Pairings of heterospecific individuals were readily observed in the field and C. gestroi males preferentially engaged in mating behavior with C. formosanus females rather than females from their own species. In the laboratory, heterospecific and conspecific pairings had an equal colony establishment rate, but heterospecific incipient colonies had twice the growth rate of conspecific incipient colonies, suggesting a potential case of hybrid vigor. As all pre-zygotic barriers were lifted between the two species in the field, the apparent absence of post-zygotic barriers in the laboratory raises the possibility for introgressive hybridization in south Florida. While laboratory observations remain to be confirmed in the field, and the alate hybrid fertility is currently unknown, our results raise a tangible concern about the hybridization of two major destructive pest species. Such hybridization would likely be associated with a new economic impact.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus