What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Neotermes (at least 2 spp.) occurs in coastal forests from Vic. to Torres Strait and across to Darwin. Soldiers are larger than those of any other Australian termite, including Mastotermes . Neotermes forms moderately large colonies, often in systems of concentric galleries, generally in the upper portions of living eucalypts; it has also been recorded from hoop pine ( Araucaria cunninghamii ) and some ornamental trees. Although Neotermes produces no central pipe in the trees that it attacks, the extensive gallery systems are occasionally the cause of some economic loss in timber and in power poles in the Sydney region.
Kalotermes (12 spp.) has small, darkly pigmented alates with the wing membrane densely covered with small, pimple-like, pigmented nodules; all species have an arolium. The soldiers, with the exception of K. atratus , have long, narrow heads  and strong mandibles with varied dentition. The head of K. atratus is phragmotic. All but one species are wood-dwellers, and form small colonies in exposed dead (and, commonly, decayed) wood, branch stubs and fire scars; one undescribed species nests in fibrous eucalypt bark. K. banksiae occasionally damages timber in buildings. Except for K. aemulus and K. hilli , which occur in south-western Australia, and K. serrulatus from tropical Qld, they are restricted to the coastal and adjacent highland areas of south-eastern Australia and Tas.
Incisitermes (2 spp.) has medium-sized, pale brown alates with hyaline wings and, in Australian species, an arolium. Soldiers have more or less parallel-sided, rectangular heads, short stout mandibles, the 3rd antennal segment long and clavate, and swollen femora (Gay 1976a). I. barretti is common in coastal north Qld, in Acacia , Eucalyptus , the mangrove Ceriops and, occasionally, in buildings, and an undescribed species occurs in similar habitats on Cape York Peninsula and on Torres Strait islands.
Ceratokalotermes is represented by 2 species. C. spoliator , the better known, occurs in coastal and adjacent highland areas from southern N.S.W. to northern Qld, and forms small colonies in and around dead wood in species of Eucalyptus . The alates are dark brown, with dark brown wings and an arolium, and soldiers have narrow, parallel-sided heads with two large, anterodorsal prominences, long, slender mandibles, and a deeply V-shaped anterior pronotal margin.
Glyptotermes (6--7 spp.) has reddish brown to dark brown alates with smoky brown wings; Rs and M are both heavily sclerotised, Rs is unbranched, and M runs closely parallel to it. The soldiers have a more or less elongate head which is distinctly to faintly bilobed in the frontal area; the mandibles are short and broad. The species are restricted to the coastal and adjacent tableland areas of eastern and south-eastern Australia from north Qld to Adelaide. They form small to, occasionally, large colonies in dead wood, often decayed, and adjacent sound wood of trees belonging to several genera, and can severely damage power poles.
Bifiditermes improbus occurs in coastal areas from south Qld to W.A. The alates have hyaline wings and lack an arolium. The soldiers have long, thick, parallel-sided heads, with the 3rd antennal segment enlarged and clavate. B. improbus forms small to moderate-sized colonies which occupy irregular gallery systems in decayed and sound wood of eucalypts, and occasionally in buildings (Watson et al. 1984), and is quite common in Sydney in eucalypt power poles with intact sapwood.
Procryptotermes (2 spp.) occurs from central Qld to the N.T. (Gay 1976b). The alates are pale brown, morphologically like those of Cryptotermes , and with similar mandibles. The soldiers have relatively short, slightly phragmotic heads and long mandibles, the 3rd antennal segment is clavate, and the anterior margin of the pronotum is not serrated. Nests of P. australiensis and an undescribed species have been found in dead wood, principally of eucalypts.
Cryptotermes (18 spp.) is the largest kalotermitid genus in Australia. It has variously coloured alates, all with anterior margin of 3rd marginal tooth of the left mandible far longer than posterior margin of 1st+2nd tooth, and all species except C. brevis have an arolium. Soldiers have phragmotic heads, with frontal and/or genal horns, short or long mandibles usually humped basally, and anterior margin of pronotum variously serrate or lobed (Gay and Watson 1982). Most species are eastern or northern, usually coastal, the endemic species commonly nesting in dead tissue of eucalypts, but C. austrinus and C. cristatus occur in central or Western Australia. An undescribed species nests in white cypress pine ( Callitris ) in northern N.S.W.; C. brevis , C. cynocephalus , C. domesticus , C. dudleyi and C. primus commonly establish nests in timber in buildings; some infest furniture. Some or all populations of the first four of these species appear to be introductions; C. brevis (West Indian drywood termite) is established in central and south-eastern Queensland, whereas the others are northern. Cryptotermes infestations are often indicated by dry, sand-like faecal pellets expelled from openings in their gallery systems. (Krishna 1961).


Alates with small ocelli close to the eyes. Fontanelle absent. Antennae 11-21-segmented. Left mandible with an apical tooth, 2 distinct, almost equal marginal teeth, and a molar plate. Right mandible with 2 marginal teeth and molar plate. Pronotum flat, as broad as, or broader than, head. Tarsi 4-segmented. Fore wing scale large and overlapping hind wing scale; membrane of wings reticulate. Fore wing with Sc, R, and Rs sclerotised; M varying in position; 1A absent. Hind wing with Sc absent, short 1A present. Cerci short, 2-segmented. Soldiers with robust heads and well-developed mandibles. Head generally long, but phragmotic in some genera, with sculptured frontal area. Eyes rudimentary, occasionally pigmented. Antennae 10-19-segmented. Mandibular dentition varied.

  • Cryptotermes domesticus (drywood termite)

  • Kalotermes rufinotum

  • Neotermes insularis soldiers

  • Neotermes insularis