Phylogeny of Australian Coptotermes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) species inferred from mitochondrial COII sequences.Bull Entomol Res. 2006 Aug; 96(4):433-7.BE
Six Australian species of Coptotermes are traditionally recognized, but recent cuticular hydrocarbon studies suggest that some of these may represent more than one species. An understanding of the phylogenetic diversity of Australian Coptotermes, particularly the pest species, is likely to be important for the improvement of termite management strategies. A study of phylogenetic relationships among species of this genus was performed, based on the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COII) gene, comparing the data with recent data from Asian species. Representatives of the species C. lacteus (Froggatt), C. frenchi Hill and C. michaelseni Silvestri were each found to form closely related monophyletic groups, however representatives of C. acinaciformis (Froggatt) were not. For C. acinaciformis, representatives from northern mound-building populations were found to form a distinct group to southern, tree-nesting forms. Among southern C. acinaciformis, two Western Australian representatives were found to be divergent from other populations. The results suggest that C. acinaciformis probably represents a complex of species rather than one, as has been suggested previously. One unidentified Coptotermes sp. taxon from Melbourne was found to be divergent from other taxa. Notably, some Australian species were more closely related to Asian species than other Australian species.