Explanation of Names
Calcaritermes Snyder, 1925
12 species in total, 1 species in our area(1)
Workers, presoldiers and some nymphs and soldiers can be differentiated from a small “rasp” near the end of the pronotum, with the exception of C. temnocephalus
alates are not easily distinguishable from Glyptotermes
and to a lesser extent, Cryptotermes
. The soldiers possess bilobed semicylindrical truncated heads with a V or U shaped depression located anterodorsally. The soldiers resemble most closely to certain Glyptotermes
Distribution is primarily central America, northern South America and coastal eastern South America.
One species in the United States being restricted to central and northeastern Florida to southeastern Georgia(2)
colonies infest damp or wet wood, usually in the shade of forest canopy. However C. temnocephalus
occupies drier wood in the open.(2)
Alates appear to fly in the spring to early summer, i.e March to June.
feeds on wood via tunneling, typical to Kalotermids. However the rest of the genus the habit of covering galleries in wet frass that may contain microbes or fungi that likely play some role in the breakdown down of wood.(2)(4)
See: Remarks below
is known to be physogastric (abdomen swells to immense sizes), a rare phenomenon in Kalotermids. Along with C. brevicollis
, are also disproportionately large.(2)
Calcaritermes constructs long narrow tubular galleries, and coats them in fecal matter. The tunnels spread apart in the wood, thus occupying little of the total volume of infested wood. There is evidence of fungal infection emanating from the galleries in the form of staining. Such species of
Calcaritermes (which include all documented species except C. temnocephalus) possess a raised patch of scales on the pseudergate, soldier and nymph castes.
It is speculated that this may be used to hold microbes to aid in the breakdown of the wood they infest similar to bark beetles
and their relationship with fungi.(2)
, the only species native to our area.