Spatial Association of Marine Dockage With Land-Borne Infestations of Invasive Termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae: Coptotermes) in Urban South Florida

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Marine vessels have been implicated in the anthropogenic dispersal of invasive termites for the past 500 yr. It has long been suspected that two invasive termites, the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, and Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), were introduced to and dispersed throughout South Florida by sailboats and yachts. We compared the distances between 190 terrestrial point records for Formosan subterranean termite, 177 records for C. gestroi, and random locations with the nearest marine dockage by using spatial analysis. Results show that the median distance to nearest docks associated with C. gestroi is significantly smaller than for the random points. Results also reveal that the median distance to nearest docks associated with Formosan subterranean termite is significantly smaller than for the random points. These results support the hypothesis that C. gestroi and Formosan subterranean termite are significantly closer to potential infested boat locations, i.e., marine docks, than random points in these urban areas. The results of our study suggest yet another source of aggregation in the context of exotic species, namely, hubs for pleasure boating.

Keywords: Coptotermes formosanus; Coptotermes gestroi; seaborne; spatial analysis; termite infestation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2010

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