Estimating Global Termite Species Richness Using Extrapolation




Isoptera, diversity, Michaelis-Menten, curve-fitting, maximum likelihood


Cumulative species description curves since 1758 are given for all termites of the world and for each biogeographical region (Australian, Ethiopian, Nearctic, Neotropical, Oriental, Palearctic, and Papuan). A cumulative description curve is also given for world genera. Estimation by maximum likelihood using the Michaelis-Menten model suggests a maximum of 5366 ± 175 species (p < 2.2E-16) and 704 ± 77 genera (p < 4.387E-13). Model fitting was poor for most individual biogeographical regions, with the exception of the Ethiopian region (estimate = 1295 ± 57 species, p < 2.2E-16). World War I and World War II had marked negative impacts on termite description rates. Data from China was treated separately due to the atypical rate of description of new termites in that country during the last two decades of the 20th century.

Author Biography

Reginaldo Constantino, Universidade de Brasilia


Dept of Zoology


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How to Cite

Constantino, R. (2018). Estimating Global Termite Species Richness Using Extrapolation. Sociobiology, 65(1), 10–14.



Research Article - Termites

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