Nature & Environment
'Super' termite species could spell disaster
By T.K. Randall
March 31, 2015 · 14 comments
The hybrid species could be extremely destructive. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Filipe Fortes
Two of the world's most invasive species of termite may be mating to produce a new type of 'super' pest.
The Asian and Formosan subterranean termite species are both extremely destructive, causing an estimated $40 billion worth of damage every year across several different parts of the world.
Despite having evolved separately for hundreds of thousands of years however these two unique species have now found themselves being inadvertently brought together, a union that has lead to the creation of a new hybrid species possessing the combined strengths of both variations.
Researchers noted that the hybrid termites appeared to be twice the size of either parent species and could reproduce twice as fast. They could also possess a temperature tolerance that would enable them to thrive in large parts of both North and South America.
"You have the two most destructive subterranean termite species in the world, and here they are, brought together through human activity, being introduced together in a place where they're not native, and they're hybridizing," said entomologist Prof Ed Vargo.
Whether the hybrid species will be able to survive in the wild however remains to be seen.
Source: Live Science
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