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Nature & Environment

'Super' termite species could spell disaster

By T.K. Randall
March 31, 2015 · Comment icon 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 | Comments (14)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by George Ford 9 years ago
Just import whatever their natural predator is in their native country. I hear thats had great results and caused no problems at all with using Cane Toads in Australia.
Comment icon #6 Posted by DefenceMinisterMishkin 9 years ago
Why do we never get cool things like Hybrid sharks or..oh wait!
Comment icon #7 Posted by and then 9 years ago
Sounds like good news for metal building sales!
Comment icon #8 Posted by bubblykiss 9 years ago
This is why I live in the SW where the only things I have to worry about are Dengue Fever, Africanized Bees, fire ant swarms, hanta virus, illegal migration, murderous police officers, the occasional outbreak of bubonic plague and traffic cams (the most insidious evil ever fathomed by the darkly diseased minds of men so wrought with fel and vile sickeness that their very breath will darken and kill flowers and/or puppies instantly).
Comment icon #9 Posted by She-ra 9 years ago
Comment icon #10 Posted by Ashotep 9 years ago
Another bug I could live without.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Taun 9 years ago
Sounds like good news for metal building sales! Gotta watch out for the Monstrous Metal Munching Moon Mice!
Comment icon #12 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
Hopefully I live too far north for these guys. The article says that they are going to watch and see if these hybrid termites can produce fertile winged males and females. If so, then Florida is screwed. Start building from bricks now people of Florida.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Delovely5150 9 years ago
That is so scary and gross. Where are the zombies when you need them. For sure they'd finish these hybrids in a second.
Comment icon #14 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
They just need to drop hives of crazy ants and killer bees near these termite colonies to deal with the issue.... There's no way that the other bugs would get out of control.... :w00t:

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