Comparison of Coptotermes formosanus and Coptotermes gestroi (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae) Field Sites and Seasonal Foraging Activity in Hawaii


  • Nirmala K Hapukotuwa Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences University of Hawaii
  • J. Kenneth Grace University of Hawaii



Field surveys were carried out from January 2010 to June 2011 to record the environmental properties of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki and C. gestroi (Wasmann) (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae) field sites on the island of Oahu, Hawaii; and to document seasonal patterns in C. formosanus and C. gestroi foraging activity. The two field sites selected differed in elevation, soil characteristics, vegetation, and mean temperature and humidity patterns. The C. formosanus colony was located on the Manoa campus of the University of Hawaii, near Miller Hall; while the C. gestroi colony was located 40 km away at the Barber’s Point Horse Stables in Kalaeloa, Oahu (formerly Barber’s Point Naval Housing). Mean temperature and humidity were recorded monthly at each field site using a Hobo® data logger (1000-1100h), soil samples were taken from each site and analyzed for physical properties, and vegetation type/s were observed, photographed, and samples brought to laboratory for identification. During each site visit, the number of active termite collection traps (termites present) out of a total of 22 traps per site were counted. The C. gestroi field site was generally warmer than that of C. formosanus. Both termite species exhibited irregular activity throughout the year, although C. formosanus was more active in general during cooler months (winter) than C. gestroi; while C. gestroi was generally more active during late spring and summer months. These results, as well as introduction histories, may help to explain C. gestroi distribution patterns in Hawaii.


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Author Biography

J. Kenneth Grace, University of Hawaii

Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences

University of Hawaii


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How to Cite

Hapukotuwa, N. K., & Grace, J. K. (2014). Comparison of Coptotermes formosanus and Coptotermes gestroi (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae) Field Sites and Seasonal Foraging Activity in Hawaii. Sociobiology, 59(1), 203–212.