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It may be difficult for insect experts to pinpoint which termite species is the most adept at survival, but there are certainly a few notable contenders. Some termite species are isolated to single regions of the world. Like many animals, not all termite species are capable of surviving in a multitude of different environmental conditions. However, some termite species have dominated much of the world ever since international trade and travel began to pick up speed more than a century ago. Each termite species possesses unique adaptations that allow them to survive within certain conditions. Arguably, the termite species that is best adapted to survive within the greatest amount of environmental conditions is the Asian subterranean termite.

Many amatuer termite experts may consider the ravenous Formosan subterranean termite species to be the most ferocious type of termite, and the best adapted at surviving in different climatic conditions. This is an understandable assumption given the fact that Formosan subterranean termites have invaded many countries outside of their native land. Formosan subterranean termites also devour wood more rapidly than most other termite species. Despite the Formosan subterranean termites toughness, Asian subterranean termites are capable of defeating Formosans in battle. For example, when researchers pitted Formosan subterranean termites against Asian subterranean termites under lab conditions, Asian subterranean termites slaughtered Formosans.

The Asian subterranean termite species has long been confused with many other similar looking termite species. In fact, these termites have only recently been labeled as Asian subterranean termites. Before, these termites were commonly referred to as Philippine milk termites. These termites are officially referred to as Coptotermes gestroi, and during the early 2000s they were found to be identical to the Coptotermes havilandi species. Asian subterranean termites used to be referred to as C. vastator several decades ago. In fact, older generations have confused even Formosan subterranean termites with Asian subterranean termites.

Asian subterranean termites have spread across much of the globe during the past century. These termites are native to Asia, where they are considered pests, but they were discovered in Hawaii as early as 1918 and in Brazil in 1936. Later, Asian subterranean termites reached the continental United States at a port in Florida. Asian subterranean termites and Formosan subterranean termites are major foes as both of these species have spread across the world at a rapid rate, and their populations often overlap in the same geographical regions. Despite the fact that Asian subterranean termites often defeat Formosan subterranean termites in battle, Asian subterranean termites are a bit smaller in size and they dessicate more rapidly in dry conditions when compared to Formosans.

Do you think that the Asian subterranean termite species is not well understood by researchers despite being one of the most widespread species of termite? Is this relative shortage of scientific information concerning Asian subterranean termites due to their resemblance to the better know Formosan subterranean termite species?

 

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