Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Genus Calcaritermes

Drywood Termite (Calcaritermes nearcticus) - Calcaritermes nearcticus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Blattodea (Cockroaches and Termites)
Superfamily Blattoidea
No Taxon (Epifamily Termitoidae - Termites)
Family Kalotermitidae (Drywood and Dampwood Termites)
Genus Calcaritermes
Explanation of Names
Calcaritermes Snyder, 1925
Numbers
12 species in total, 1 species in our area(1)
Identification
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.(2)

Calcaritermes 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 spp.(3)
Range
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)
Habitat
Calcaritermes colonies infest damp or wet wood, usually in the shade of forest canopy. However C. temnocephalus occupies drier wood in the open.(2)
Season
Alates appear to fly in the spring to early summer, i.e March to June.
Food
C. temnocephalus 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
Life Cycle
C. temnocephalus is known to be physogastric (abdomen swells to immense sizes), a rare phenomenon in Kalotermids. Along with C. brevicollis, are also disproportionately large.(2)
Remarks
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)
See Also
Calcaritermes nearcticus, the only species native to our area.