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Drywood termite

Scientific Name
Cryptotermes dudleyi
Scientific Author
(Isoptera: Kalotermitidae)
Exotic Species Occurrence in Australia

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Diagnostic Images

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Diagnostic Images (16)
Diagnostic Notes

Soldier body length 4.55-7.15mm, head width exceeding 1mm; frontal flange complete across head, recurving laterally, somewhat angularily concave with distinct median notch; frontal horns distinctly smaller than genal horns, frontal flange, viewed from front distinctly produced forward at side of head, above antennal sockets, frons with ill defined ridges, frons falling at angle of about 70 degrees to base of mandible; pronotum narrower than head, widely and deeply notched, finely serrate, sometimes with 1-2 coarse serrations.


Gay, F. and Watson, T. (1982). The Genus Cryptotermes in Australia (Isoptera: Kalotermitidae). Australian Journal of Zoology Supp. Series 88: 1-64.


Imago: Tawny brown, pronotum slightly paler than head; wings faintly tinged with brown. Head longer than wide, sides almost parallel, posterior margin truncately rounded; cranial sutures distinct; eyes sub-triangular and prominent; ocelli contiguous with eyes; antennae of 15-18 segments, usually 15 or 16, number may differ on each side. Pronotum with anterior margin widely and smoothly concave, anterolateral corners well defined, sides slightly rounded, posterior margin faintly concave medially, sometimes slightly notched. Forewing with Rs of 5-7 branches; M unsclerotised and joining Rs beyond middle of wing; Cu also weak and unsclerotised. Arolium present.

Soldier: Head yellow-brown, darkening posteriorly; frontal flange, frons and mandibles almost black; labrum and antennae pale yellow-brown, basal three antennal segments darker than remainder. When viewed dorsally, head much longer than wide, almost parallel-sided or slightly widened posteriorly, hind margin flattened or arcuate; in profile, dorsal margin weakly convex except for slightly elevated frontal flange; frontal flange raised, continuous from vertex of head and recurving laterally to upper margin of antennal foveolae, angularly concave with distinct median notch; frons slightly rugose with weakly developed lateral ridges and falling at an angle of ~ 60-70°, lower margin in form of transverse ridge that is interrupted by the post-clypeus and which terminates laterally in short, broad frontal horns; genal horns prominent, much larger and longer than frontal horns and diverging from long axis of head at an angle of ~ 45°; mandibles short relative to head length, thickened basally, with strong external hump, distal 2/3 only moderately slender and curved, central third weakly ridged; eyes indistinct and faintly projecting; antennae of 10-16 segments, usually 13 or 14. Pronotum generally narrower than head but occasionally as wide; anterior margin thickened, wide and deeply notched, finely serrate, sometimes with 1-2 coarse serrations; posterior margin almost straight.

- Exotic. Despite several quarantine interceptions at ports of entry, there is no evidence to suggest that this species is established in Australia. The reported detections of C. dudleyi in a live coconut palm in Darwin in 1913 and in a wooden building on Thursday Island in 1932 are almost certainly based on misidentifications because several subsequent searches have failed to locate it. Native to southern and south-eastern Asia, C. dudleyi has been spread to the Cook Islands and Nauru in the Pacific, Columbia and Brasil in South America and Panama, Trinidad, Tobago and Costa Rica in North America.

- Colonies are small.

- C. dudleyi is considered a major pest of structural timber, in particular that of boats. It has been detected several times in wreckage and in illegal foreign fishing vessels from Indonesia.

The imago of C. dudleyi closely res
More Information
Specimen Contact
Museum Victoria
Walker, K.
10/10/2006 09:46 AEST
Last Updated
02/08/2012 14:29 AEST
Walker, K. (2006) Drywood termite (Cryptotermes dudleyi) Updated on 8/2/2012 2:29:15 PM Available online: PaDIL -
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Free for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License