Ant and termite distributions on Oahu, Hawaiʻi

Tong, Reina Leilani
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2014]
Termites (Blattaria) are economically important structural pests. On Oahu, the last published termite alate survey was in 1969-1971, and the last termite distribution survey was from 1998-2000. An updated survey was performed in order to discover any newly-established species, monitor possible expansions of the recent invaders Coptotermes gestroi, Cryptotermes cynocephalus, Incisitermes minor, and Zootermopsis angusticollis; and track distributions of Coptotermes formosanus, Cryptotermes brevis, Incisitermes immigrans, and Neotermes connexus. A light-trap survey of termite alates was conducted from February 2011-September 2012. Squareroot transformed C. formosanus captures were subjected to a two-factor analysis of variance with location and month as explanatory variables. A multiple regression indicated environmental factors predicted C. formosanus alate capture (R2=.29, F(4,47)=4.58, p < .0025). Average wind speed (β =-3.68, p < .0006) and average rainfall (β = 2.20, p < .0325) significantly predicted C. formosanus alate capture, while average temperature and percent moon illuminated did not. A systematic survey along Oahu roads was conducted from September to November 2012. Of the fortyfour sites surveyed, four termite species were found: I. immigrans (n = 8), C. formosanus (n = 2), C. cynocephalus (n = 1) and Neotermes sp. (n = 1). Coptotermes gestroi, C. brevis, I. minor, N. connexus and Z. angusticollis were not found. There was no relationship between I. immigrans incidence with elevation and average annual rainfall. Co-occurrence with ant species was examined using a probabilistic model, and positive co-occurrences of I. immigrans with Paratrechina longicornis and Solenopsis geminata were significant (p < .0422 and p < .0140, respectively), while negative co-occurrence of I. immigrans and Pheidole megacephala was significant (p < .0007). Coptotermes formosanus and C. brevis termites were found more often from alate surveys, which may be a better method to map subterranean and primarily structure-dwelling termite distributions. Continued termite education along the windward and leeward coasts is recommended due to the presence of C. formosanus and C. gestroi. Convenience sampling draws samples from readily available sources and is often the most practical method of surveying animal and plant distribution, but can also be biased. Convenience sampling is often justified due to time, money, personnel and equipment constraints. However, inferences from data obtained from such studies may need to be limited. To explore convenience sampling bias in roadside surveys of ants and termites, a distribution study was conducted on Oahu from September to November 2012. A timed search (one person, 30 minutes) was conducted at each paired site near (less than 15-m) roads and away (more than 15-m) from roads. Ants and termites were collected and identified to species. There was no significant difference in the species richness of road and away sites. No significant difference between road and away sites was detected with a multi-response permutation procedure. However, the species compositions as measured by Jaccard distance of road and away sites were significantly different at four sites individually. However, Jaccard distances by combined vegetation zone for ants and termites were not significant, and the overall combined road and away Jaccard distance (36.00%) was not significant. Although differences were minimal in the present study, caution is still recommended when conducting distribution surveys based on convenience.
M.S. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
ants, termites
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