Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

The distribution and biology of the genus Ahamitermes (Isoptera).

JH Calaby

Australian Journal of Zoology 4(2) 111 - 124
Published: 1956


The little-known Australian genus, Ahamitermes, contains four described species: A. nidicola Mjoberg (Queensland), A. hillii Nicholls (south-western Australia), A. inclusus Gay (restricted to a small sub-coastal area in mid- Western Australia), and A. pumilus (Hill) (New South Wales and Western Australia). Many new distribution records of A. hillii and some of A. inclusus are given. New observations on the biology of Ahamitermes show that the various species have a species-specific parasitic nesting relationship with either one of two species of the genus Coptotermes. They live in specific parts of the inner sections of Coptotermes nests, utilizing as food the carton composing these sections, and are thus dependent on the host for food and shelter. They are not found in any other situation. The nests of host and parasite are separated and the two species are mutually hostile. A. pumilus differs from its congeners in that it is also dependent on the host for the release of its alates which are tolerated inquilines in the host's nest. Termite associations in general and that of Ahamitermes and Coptotermes in particular are discussed.

© CSIRO 1956

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