Rhynchotermes nasutissimus (Silvestri)

Constantini, Joice P. & Cancello, Eliana M., 2016, A taxonomic revision of the Neotropical termite genus Rhynchotermes (Isoptera, Termitidae, Syntermitinae), Zootaxa 4109 (5), pp. 501-522: 511-518

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Rhynchotermes nasutissimus (Silvestri)


Rhynchotermes nasutissimus (Silvestri) 

Armitermes nasutissimus Silvestri 1901: 7  , description of female imago; 1903: 79–81, 131 – 132, description all castes and nest (alate wing, fig. 20; nest fig. 47 A; alate, pl. 4: 141–142; soldier, pl. 4: 143–147).

Termes (Eutermes) nasutissimus, Desneux 1904: 44  , new combination.

Armitermes (Rhynchotermes) nasutissimus, Holmgren 1912: 53  , 55, 57 (alate mandible, fig. 29, soldier mandible, fig. 36; soldier, pl. 2: fig. 15).

Rhynchotermes nasutissimus, Snyder 1949: 264  ; Koovor 1969: 201–206 (digestive tract, fig. 8); Mathews 1977: 155 –157, redescription (soldier, fig. 102); Fontes 1987: 8 –118 (alate mandibles, fig. 319–321; worker mandibles, fig. 322–327; digestive tract, fig. 91–102); Krishna et al. 2013: 1473 (catalog).

Lectotype, here designated. Soldier, kept separately in the same sample as the paralectotypes, listed below, which have the same number. Paraguay. Villa Rica, 14.x. 1900, F. Silvestri col., DEZA.

Type locality. PARAGUAY. Villa Rica.

Paralectotypes. Four imagos (three female and one male), six soldiers and ten workers, in good condition; DEZA. (Same label as lectotype above).

New synonym: Rhynchotermes guarany Cancello 1997: 149  –153 (soldier, fig. 2–6; worker mandible, fig. 1). Holotype: soldier. BRAZIL. Goiás: Alto Paraíso de Góias ( MZUSP 10089), examined.

Imago ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 A, B, 2 A, B, 7 A). Head capsule, in lateral view, with posterior portion after eyes short and rounded. Eyes large, protruding and close to lower margin of head capsule. Ocelli large and kidney-shaped in dorsal view. Four stains smaller than ocelli ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 A) and closer to postclypeus margin. Second marginal tooth of right mandible as in worker. Pronotum with anterolateral margin slightly projected forward ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 A). Tergites with disperse bristles across plate. Wings with very scarce to no hairs. ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2 A, B). Measurements given in Table 1.

R. nasutissimus  R. perarmatus  length of forewing with scale 12.60–13.75 (13.07) 12.50 –14.00 (13.20) 13.01–14.28 (13.58) length of the hind tibia 1.50–1.65 (1.58) 1.53–1.62 (1.57) 1.37–1.47 (1.42)

Comments. The alate ( Figs. 1View FIGURE 1 A, B and 7 A) is a paralectotype from Silvestri's collection ( DEZA) whose colour was modified by the time, as it is a very old sample (1900). There are four samples in MZUSP with several alates with the colour characteristic described for the genus.

Soldier ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 G, 4 G, 5 G, 6 A, 7 B). Monomorphic. Head capsule rounded to pear-shaped in dorsal view ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 G). Antenna articles short ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4 G). Labrum subpentagonal with distal margin hyaline. Frontal tube about onethird longer than head, conically shaped with margins of head and frontal tube concave in profile. Mandible strongly curved ( Fig. 5View FIGURE 5 G) with subrectangular marginal tooth oriented to mandible apex. Inner margin of mandible serrated, apical region of each mandible aligns to the proximal region of the opposite mandible when closed ( Fig. 6View FIGURE 6 A). Forecoxa process conical ( Fig. 7View FIGURE 7 B). Head capsule with six long bristles; four laterally and two centrally. Pronotum with two to four long bristles on anterior lobe. Head capsule orange to brownish, body yellow. Measurements given in Table 3.

Comments. In the illustration by Silvestri (1903) the anterior margin of the pronotum appears to have a wide central indentation but this character varies greatly within a single sample that also includes specimens with straight anterior margins.

Worker. Fontanelle inconspicuous. Postclypeus with a medium line light and inconspicuous. Measurements given in Table 2.

length of the width of the head width of pronotum length of hind n head* tibia

Comments. Fontes (1987) considered the workers of R. nasutissimus  dimorphic. However, we found no morphological characteristics in the specimens studied that justified their separation.

Biological notes. Silvestri (1903) described a subterranean nest for R. nasutissimus  . There are also records of them occupying abandoned termite nests ( Cancello 1997) and they have been observed in the top of an active nest of Procornitermes araujoi Emerson  in a pasture area in São Roque de Minas, Minas Gerais. They have also been found in the basal region of an active nest of Cornitermes cumulans (Kollar)  that was occupied by several other species. In this last observation, there was a great concentration of soldiers and workers but juveniles were not observed. There are further notes of this species in the nests of Syntermes wheeleri Emerson  and Syntermes nanus Constantino.  Rhynchotermes nasutissimus  forages on the ground, usually emerging in the late afternoon, without any record of covered trails. They have also been observed feeding on the carrion of a dead rat after six days of decomposition ( Prestes et al. 2014). Almost exactly the same behavior as that described for R. perarmatus  (see below) was observed once by EMC at night (around 21 h) in an area covered by grass, without any cover and in the open air. Samples previously identified as R. guarany  were collected under stones in rupestrian fields.

Comparisons. Soldiers of R. nasutissimus  are morphological similar to those of R. piauy  , R. matraga  sp. nov. and the major  soldier of R. amazonensis  sp. nov., regarding the strongly curved mandible with a subrectangular marginal tooth and the serrated inner margin of the mandible. The margin of head and frontal tube is almost straight in profile in R. piauy  and R. matraga  sp. nov. but concave in R. nasutissimus  and R. amazonensis  sp. nov. In workers of R. amazonensis  sp. nov. the fontanelle is conspicuous and in soldiers the head capsule has a slightly constriction behind antennae. Soldier and worker of R. amazonensis  sp. nov. have long articles on the antennae. The frontal tube orientation, frontal tube tip, width and length of frontal tube, curvature of soldier mandible and angle of frontal tube relative to head were proposed as diagnostic features of R. guarany  but we found a great variation of them throughout samples identified as R. nasutissimus  and R. guarany  .The imago of R. nasutissimus  has large and more protrunding eyes and ocelli than R. perarmatus  . In profile the posterior region of the head capsule of R. perarmatus  is longer than in R. nasutissimus  . The wings in R. nasutissimus  have no or very few hairs while in R. perarmatus  they are abundant. Rhynchotermes nasutissimus  has bristles across the entire surface of the tergites while in R. perarmatus  the bristles are concentrated in the posterior area. Rhynchotermes nasutissimus  has pronotum with anterolateral margin projected slightly forward and R. perarmatus  has pronotum with anterolateral margin projected slightly downward and anterocentral margin upward.

Other material examined. ARGENTINA. Santiago del Estero: Santiago del Estero, 10 km E de Gobernador Garmendia, 06.xii. 2004, C. Cuezzo col., IFML 0315; Parque Nacional Copo, 16.xii. 2000, C. Szumik & C. Cuezzo col., IFML 0183; Tucumán: Siete de Abril, 01.ix. 1965, MZUSP 8159. BRAZIL. Federal District: Cerradão, 04.v. 1980, A. E. Mill col., MZUSP 10840; 08.vii. 2002, E. M. Cancello col., MZUSP 14870; Fazenda Água Limpa, lat 15.945833 S, long 47.935556 W, 01.viii. 1992, T. Schultz col., MZUSP 9806; 22.v. 1980, A. E. Mill col., MZUSP 10841; 26.v. 1994, R. Constantino leg., UnB 0007; 12.viii. 1991, K. Kitayama leg., UnB 1072; 15.ii. 1992, Carlos leg., UnB 0152; Universidade de Brasília, 06.iii. 12, A.C. Prestes col., MZUSP 16120; xii. 1974, K. Kitayama col., MZUSP 7337; Goiás: Alto Paraíso de Goiás, 05.vii. 1991, C. R. F. Brandão, M. L. Françoso & A. A. Reis col., MZUSP 10089; Alvorada do Norte, Fazenda Paraná, lat 14.5253 S, long 46.7847 W, 07.iii. 2003, G. C. Costa leg. UnB 5273; 26.viii. 2003, D. L. Bernardo leg., UnB 4087; Avelinópolis, 12.viii. 2009, T. F. Carrijo col., MZUSP 12659; Monte Alto, 14.iii. 2004, G. C. Costa leg., UnB 5307, 5314, 5317, 5332; Parque Nacional das Emas, lat 18.106389 S, long 52.927778 W, 12.iv. 1980, Mill & Redford col., MZUSP 10843; 06.vii. 1980, MZUSP 10842; Mato Grosso: Base de Pesquisa do IBDF, 15.xi. 1984, M. A. Drumond col., MZUSP 23990; Cáceres, 01.iii. 2007, A. Marques leg., UnB 7446; 16.ii. 2007, UnB 7444; Chapada dos Guimarães, Aproveitamento Múltiplo de Manso, lat 14.9333 S, long 55.7333 W, 11.v. 1999, R. Constantino leg. UnB 1634; 14.i. 1999, UnB 0831; Coxipó, 18.ii. 1976, R. L. Araujo col., MZUSP 6688; Cuiabá, (7 km N), 16.ii. 1976, R. L. Araujo col., MZUSP 6723; 20.x. 1995, Og De Souza col., UFV 0 1951, 0 1955, 0 1956, 0 1957, 01968; Parque Estadual do Araguaia, Novo Santo Antônio, lat 12.3769 S, long 50.9344 W, 05.vi. 2005, Lima & Fraczak leg., UnB 6389; Poconé, Transpantaneira, 28.xi. 1984, J. C. Trager col., MZUSP 9386; 15.xi. 1984, C. Campaner col., MZUSP 23988; Mato Grosso do Sul: Corumbá, 09.xii. 1960, K. Lenko col., MZUSP 2044; Nhecolândia, 07.xii. 1984, M. A. Auxiliadora col., MZUSP 23995; 08.xii. 1984, MZUSP 23991, 23993; 08– 10.xii. 1984, MZUSP 23992; Estância Fazenda Santa Izabel, 14.x. 1984, MZUSP 23994; Pantanal, Área de Proteção Ambiental Baía Negra, Ladário, 21.xii. 2012, T. G. D. Plaza col., MZUSP 16110, 16111; Passo do Lontra, 19.vii. 2012, H. F. Cunha col., MZUSP 16122, 16123, 16124; Porto Murtinho, Porto Angelônia, 25.i. 2008, F. A. Esteves col., MZUSP 23989; Selvíria, 16.iii. 1991, R. S. Rodrigues, col., MZUSP 9729; Três Lagoas, 05.iv. 1993, C. A. H. Flechtmann col., MZUSP 9831; left margin Sucuriu river, Fazenda Canaã, ii. 1967, F. Lane col., MZUSP 2040; Minas Gerais: Arceburgo, Sítio Areia de Minas, vii. 2012, E. M. Cancello col. MZUSP 15966; 14.vii. 2005, MZUSP 11324; 06.ix. 2007, MZUSP 11618; 05.vii. 2012, MZUSP 15979; 13.vii. 2005, MZUSP 11302; 05.viii. 2012, MZUSP 15981; vii. 2012, MZUSP 15967; 18.x. 2012, MZUSP 23984; 17.x. 2012, MZUSP 23985; 05.viii. 2012, MZUSP 23986; 27.xi. 2012, J. L. Figueiredo col., MZUSP 23987; Fazenda São Paulo, 14.vii. 2005, E. M. Cancello col., MZUSP 11325; Belo Horizonte, Serra do Curral, 30.xi. 1956, R. L. Araujo col., MZUSP 4501; 29.vii. 1975, MZUSP 6203; Pampulha, 15.i. 1954, MZUSP 4112; Bocaiúva, 25.vii. 1975, MZUSP 5986; Guarda-Mor, Fazenda Tirinha, lat 17.5714 S, long 47.1436 W, 29.x. 2001, R. Constantino col., UnB 3162; Grande Sertão Veredas, lat 15.5109 S, long 46.0000W, 14.x. 2012, T. F. Carrijo col., MZUSP 16112; Lagoa Santa, iii. 1957, R. L. Araujo col., MZUSP 0023; 29.i. 1950, MZUSP 3208; 19.xi. 1972, MZUSP 5851; 07.i. 1954, MZUSP 4087; Lavras, xii. 1972, C. R. F. Brandão col., MZUSP 16442; Rio Paranaíba, 06.xi. 1990, Og de Souza col., UFV 2581; 23.xi. 1990, UFV 2536; 22.x. 1990, UFV 2602; 26.x. 1990, UFV 2591; 23.xi. 1990, UFV 2559; 24.x. 1990, UFV 2535; 10.xi. 1990, UFV 2580; 08.xii. 1990, UFV 2537; 22.x. 1990, UFV 2614; 24.x. 1990, UFV 2498, 2674; São Roque de Minas, Fazenda Agro-Serra, 01.iv. 2012, J. P. Constantini & T. F. Carrijo col., MZUSP 16116; Sete Lagoas, 08.xi. 1985, T. M. C. M. Cavenaghi & D.J. Domingos col., UFV 3597; 20.xii. 1984, UFV 5258, 5231; 27.xii. 1982, UFV 5945; 29.iii. 1984, UFV 5251; 05.xii. 1985, UFV 6146; 20.iii. 1985, UFV 5967; 09.xi. 1984, UFV 6144; 08.xi. 1985, UFV 5246; 27.xi. 1982, UFV 6024; 14.iii. 1985, UFV 5648; 09.xi. 1984, UFV 5255; 13.xii. 1986, UFV 5250; 25.xi. 1983, UFV 5955; 02.vii. 1985, UFV 5948; 24.x. 1990, Og De Souza col., UFV 2535; 10.vi. 1982, D. J. Domingos col., UFV 6133, 13.v. 1982, UFV 6159; 20.v. 1982, UFV 6160; 29.iv. 1982, UFV 5248; 16.ix. 1982, M. A. Drumond col. UFV 6149; Três Marias, Estação Ecológica Pirapitinga, 07.ix. 2005, S. L. Murcia leg., UnB 6417; Piauí: Bom Jesus, Rodovia Transcerrado, 09.xi. 2010, R. Constantino leg., UnB 7862; São Paulo: Agudos, 08.v. 1952, W. W. Kempf col., MZUSP 2042; Campinas, Vila Nova, 25.xi. 1972, R. L. Araujo col., MZUSP 5351; 17.i. 1945, MZUSP 2713; 18.i. 1944, MZUSP 2717; Luiz Antônio, Reserva Jataí, lat 21.5702 S, long 47.7355 W, 26.ii. 1997, E. M. Cancello col., MZUSP 16119; 26.ii. 1997, MZUSP 16118; 25.ii. 1997, MZUSP 16121; 09.v. 2007, G. R. Mazão col., MZUSP 16117; Mogi das Cruzes, 19.iv. 1953, R. L. Araujo col., MZUSP 2041; Novo Horizonte: 24.xi. 1944, R. L. Araujo & Silva cols., MZUSP 2651; Sertãozinho, 28.v. 1963, K.

Lenko col., MZUSP 0300; Tocantins: Dianópolis, Fazenda Novo Iguaçu, lat 11.6025 S, long 46.5175 W, 22.ix. 2003, D. L. Bernardo leg., UnB 5192; Paranã, Fazenda São João, lat 12.9139 S, long 47.6169 W, 28.iii. 2004, G. C. Costa leg., UnB 5467, 5481; 27.iii. 2004, UnB 5422. PARAGUAY. Boquerón: Arenal, Mister Long, lat 20.6000S, long 62.0333 W, 31.x. 2001, Y. Roisin col., MZUSP 22891; P. N. Teniente Enciso, lat 21.2000S, long 61.6500W, 03.xi. 2001, Y. Roisin col., MZUSP 22890; Villa Rica, 1901, F. Silvestri col., MSNG.

Published records. ARGENTINA. Formosa ( Torales et al. 2005). BOLIVIA. Beni: Reyes ( Snyder 1926). PERU ( Araujo 1977).

Additional records. BRAZIL. Pará: Alter do Chão, lat 2.52913 S, long 54.8997 W, 09.vi. 2012, R. Constantino col., UnB 8822 (R. Constantino pers. comm.).

Armitermes (Rhynchotermes) perarmatus Snyder 1925 b: 188  –190, description of soldier and worker (soldier, fig. 7). Rhynchotermes perarmatus, Snyder 1949: 264  ; Nickle & Collins 1992: 208 –241, redescription, biology (soldier, fig. 13.82, 13.83); Krishna et al. 2013: 1474 (catalog).

Holotype. Soldier. 22.ii. 1924, T. E. Snyder col., USNM 0 0 350, examined.

Type-locality. PANAMA. Canal Zone, Chinilla River.

Junior synonym: Armitermes (Rhynchotermes) major Snyder 1925 a: 160  . Holotype: soldier. COSTA RICA. Estrella. ( USNM 27738), not examined.

Imago ( Fig 1View FIGURE 1 C, D, 2 C, D). Head capsule, in lateral view, with long posterior portion behind eyes. Eyes medium sized. Ocelli medium sized and kidney-shaped in dorsal view ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 C). Four stains similar in size to ocelli. Second marginal tooth of right mandible highly reduced. Pronotum with anterolateral margin projected slightly downward and anterocentral margin upward ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 D). Tergites with bristles concentrated on posterior margin of plate. Wings densely covered in hairs ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2 C, D). Measurements given in Table 1.

Soldier (3 H, 4 H, 5 H). Monomorphic. Head capsule pear-shaped in dorsal view ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 H). Antennae articles long ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4 H). Labrum subrectangular. Frontal tube about fifty percent longer than length of head, projecting slightly downward and subcylindrical. Dorsal margin of head and margin of frontal tube concave in profile. Mandible about two-third length of frontal tube with conical marginal tooth, evenly curved ( Fig. 5View FIGURE 5 H). Apical region of each mandible extending well beyond the opposite mandible when closed ( Fig. 6View FIGURE 6 B). Forecoxa process conical. Head capsule with two long bristles on apex. Labrum with four conspicuous bristles. Pronotum with two long bristles on anterior lobe margin followed by several short bristles. Head capsule orange to brown-reddish. Measurements given in Table 3.

Worker ( Fig. 8View FIGURE 8 A, B, C). Fontanelle conspicuous, rounded and whitish. Postclypeus with a medium line dark and incomplete. Measurements given in Table 2.

Biological notes. Rhynchotermes perarmatus  was observed living under decaying bark ( Snyder 1925 b; Roisin 1992). Eisner (2003) described the foraging behavior (already observed in other groups) as consisting of a trail with a great flow of workers in the center of the trail, surrounded by a row of soldiers in defense position (open mandibles and frontal tube raised) as a protective barrier. The trail was covered and foraging usually took place at night ( Nickle & Collins 1992).

Comparisons. See under R. bulbinasus  .

Other material examined. COSTA RICA. Guanacaste: Liberia, vii –viii. 1965, R. Goodland col., MZUSP 1101; Limón: Siquirres, Finca Monte Ararat, lat 10.0500N, long 83.5333 W, 05.viii. 2002, Y. Roisin col., MZUSP 22892. PANAMA. Barro Colorado Island, 18.v. 1935, A. E. Emerson col., MZUSP 3736; 20.v. 1935, MZUSP 3737; Coclé, El Copé, lat 8.6854 N, long 80.5985 W, 04.vi. 2010, R. H. Scheffrahn col., MZUSP 16114; Colón, Gamboa, Rio Agua Salud, Pipeline Road, lat 9.2000N, long 79.7666 W, 26.iv. 1991, Y. Roisin col., MZUSP 22893.

Published records. BELIZE ( Araujo 1977). ECUADOR ( Snyder 1949). GUATEMALA ( Becker 1953).

TABLE 1. Measurements Rhynchotermes spp. imagos, range and mean (mm). n = number of specimens measured.

  1.37–1.50 (1.44)  
maximum diameter of compound eyes 0.47–0.55 (0.51) 0.50–0.55 (0.52)  
inter-eye distance 0.87–1.02 (0.96) 0.85–0.97 (0.90)  
maximum diameter of ocellus 0.17–0.22 (0.20) 0.17–0.25 (0.21)  
minimum diameter of ocellus 0.15–0.22 (0.18) 0.17–0.20 (0.19)  
eye-ocellus distance 0.02–0.07 (0.05) 0.02–0.07 (0.03)  
maximum length of pronotum 0.67–0.75 (0.71) 0.65–0.72 (0.69)  
width of pronotum 1.22–1.32 (1.27) 1.20–1.35 (1.26)  

TABLE 3. Measurements of soldiers of Rhynchotermes, range and mean (mm). * Head length with frontal tube, n = number of specimens measured.

  width of the head      
    0.40–0.46 (0.43)    

TABLE 2. Measurements of Rhynchotermes spp. workers, range and mean (mm). * Length of the head to lateral base of mandibles; n = number of specimens measured.

        1.10–1.20 (1.12)  
        0.80–0.87 (0.84)  
        1.52–1.70 (1.64)  

Dipartimento di Entomologia e Zoologia Agraria dell'Universita


Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo


Eastern Michigan University


Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova 'Giacomo Doria'


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History














Rhynchotermes nasutissimus (Silvestri)

Constantini, Joice P. & Cancello, Eliana M. 2016

Armitermes (Rhynchotermes) perarmatus

Krishna 2013: 1474
Nickle 1992: 208
Snyder 1949: 264
Snyder 1925: 188

Rhynchotermes nasutissimus

Krishna 2013: 1473
Fontes 1987: 8
Mathews 1977: 155
Snyder 1949: 264

Armitermes nasutissimus

Silvestri 1901: 7

Termes (Eutermes) nasutissimus

Desneux 1904: 44

Armitermes (Rhynchotermes) nasutissimus

Holmgren 1912: 53