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Drywood termite

Scientific Name
Cryptotermes tropicalis
Scientific Author
Gay & Watson
(Isoptera: Kalotermitidae)
Native Australian Pest Species

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Diagnostic Images

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Diagnostic Images (11)
Diagnostic Notes

Soldier body length 4.55-6.80mm, head width exceeding 1mm; frontal flange complete across head, frons falling almost vertically to clypeal region, frontal flange reduced in central one third, extending beyond frons only at sides of head, central area of vertex depressed; mandibles long (left mandible 0.99-1.20mm), apical section distinctly incurved; frontal horns prominent, stout, bluntly rounded and completely obscuring genal horns, genal horns very short and blunt; pronotum with deep and wide V-shaped anterior margin, coarsely and irregularly serrate.


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


Imago: Medium brown, head, prothorax and wing scales darkest; legs and abdominal sternites darkest; wings uniformly suffused with brown, paler than general body colour and covered with conspicuous pimple-like nodules. Head roughly parallel-sided, flatly hemispherical posteriorly; distinct M-shaped pale area medially on vertex in line with anterior margin of eyes; eyes large and prominent; ocelli large and compactly oval, contiguous with eyes; antennae of 14-18 segments, usually 16. Pronotum approximately as wide as head, with distinct pale band across anterior 1/3, reaching anterolateral corners; anterior margin widely and deeply concave, sides weakly convex, narrowing gradually to faintly bi-convex posterior margin. Head and pronotum with sparse pale-orange hairs. Wings with only Sc, R and Rs sclerotised; Rs with 5-7 branches; M unsclerotised and joining Rs beyond middle of wing. Tibial spurs distinctly serrate; arolium present.

Soldier: Head dark orange posteriorly to almost black in region of frontal flange and frons, both of which are rugose; antennae and labrum dark orange. Head longer than wide, almost parallel-sided and somewhat truncate posteriorly; frontal flange elevated only at sides of head, mid-section straight and transverse across head, without obvious median notch; large triangular depressed area on vertex immediately behind flange; when viewed from front, mid-section of frontal flange is slightly, sometimes deeply, concave and extends back into depressed area of vertex; frons falling steeply to clypeus, generally almost vertically but sometimes at little more than 60°; frontal horns prominent, stout, bluntly rounded and completely obscuring genal horns when viewed dorsally; latter very short and blunt; mandibles long, distal 2/3 relatively slender, prominent external hump at basal 1/3 sometimes carried forward as distinct projection; eyes moderately to very distinct; antennae of 10-16 segments, usually 13-14. Pronotum with deeply and widely V-shaped anterior margin, thickened, with generally straight sides to V, coarsely and irregularly serrate, lateral margins distinctly convex; posterior margin almost straight or faintly sinuate. Tibial spurs serrate.

- This species seems to be limited to coastal NE Queensland, either in rainforest or areas once covered in rainforest.

- Colonies are small.

- Regarded as a minor pest, although it has been detected in structural timber and house stumps, C. tropicalis usually occurs in dead branches and scar tissue of living trees, decayed buttress roots and fallen logs. It has also been taken from sound and rotting stumps of walnut (Endiandra palmerstoni) and red-tulip oak (Heritiera perlata).

C. tropicalis closely resembles C. primus. The imago of the former may be separated from that of the latter by its much darker colour, especially the wings. In addition, the anterior margin of the pr
More Information
Specimen Contact
Museum Victoria
Walker, K.
10/10/2006 11:06 AEST
Last Updated
02/08/2012 15:04 AEST
Walker, K. (2006) Drywood termite (Cryptotermes tropicalis) Updated on 8/2/2012 3:04:49 PM Available online: PaDIL -
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