Rhynchotermes diphyes Mathews

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: 508-510

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Rhynchotermes diphyes Mathews


Rhynchotermes diphyes Mathews 

Rhynchotermes diphyes Mathews 1977: 157  –159 ( major  soldier, fig 103; minor soldier, 104); Krishna et al. 2013: 1472 (catalog).

Holotype. Major  soldier. 06.vi. 1967, A. G. Mathews col., MZUSP 7414, examined. Type locality. BRAZIL. Mato Grosso: Ribeirão Cascalheira, lat 12.8145 S, long 51.7745 W. (R.Constantino, personal comm.).

New synonym: Rhynchotermes nyctobius Mathews 1977: 156  –157 (soldier, fig. 101). Holotype: soldier. BRAZIL. Mato Grosso: Ribeirão Cascalheira ( MZUSP 7415), examined.

Imago. Unknown.

Soldier ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 D, E, 4 D, E, 5 D, E, 7 C). Dimorphic. Major  soldier: head capsule pear-shaped in dorsal view ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 D). Antennal articles short ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4 D). Labrum tongue-shaped with hyaline tip. Frontal tube approximately equal in length to head, conical. Dorsal margin of head plus and margin of frontal tube concave in profile. Mandible evenly curved ( Fig. 5View FIGURE 5 D), robust, with subrectangular marginal tooth, apical region of each mandible aligns to the proximal region of the opposite mandible when closed. Postmentum subquadrangular. Forecoxa process conical ( Fig. 7View FIGURE 7 C). Head capsule with four to six long bristles. Labrum with two bristles. Pronotum with two long bristles either side of lateral lobe. Forecoxa process with short bristles. Head capsule orange to brown, body yellow. Minor soldier: head capsule rounded ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 E). Length of frontal tube one-third longer than length of head without frontal tube, subcylindrical, slightly down-curved. Mandible thin ( Fig. 5View FIGURE 5 E). Forecoxa process cylindrical. Head capsule with six to ten long bristles. Measurements given in Table 3.

Worker ( Fig. 9View FIGURE 9 C). Fontanelle conspicuous. Postclypeus medium line light, inconspicuous. Two sets of short bristles with darkened tips next to fontanelle. Measurements given in Table 2.

Biological notes. Rhynchotermes diphyes  has also been observed occupying abandoned termite nests ( Cancello 1997) as well as the bulbs of banana plants and cattle dung.

Comparisons. Mathews (1977) stated that the distinguishing features between the minor soldiers of R. diphyes  and R. nyctobius  were the curvature near the frontal tube tip of R. nyctobius  and fewer bristles on head capsule of R. diphyes  . However, after examining numerous samples, we were not able to confirm these differences as these characters are highly variable within and between samples such that it is impossible to separate the minor soldiers of the two species. On the other hand, the major  soldier of R. diphyes  has a large head capsule and a shorter, conical frontal tube whilst in other species (except R. bulbinasus  which is bulbous) the frontal tube is equal or greater in length to the head capsule.

Other material examined. BRAZIL. Mato Grosso: Chapada dos Guimarães, 25.xi. 1984, C. Campaner col., MZUSP 16132; Cláudia, 25.viii. 2011, Q. C. L. Santos col., MZUSP 15934; 20.viii. 2011, MZUSP 15933; Ribeirão Cascalheira, lat 12.8145 S, long 51.7745 W, 04.iv. 1968, A. G. Mathews col., MZUSP 7415; lat 12.0000S, long 59.5000W, viii. 1980, A. E. Mill col., MZUSP 10844; Utiariti (325m), Rio Papagaio, vii –viii. 1961, K. Lenko col., MZUSP 2043; São Paulo: Bauru, Aimorés, vi. 1947, D. Braz col., MZUSP 3050, 3052; Descalvado, 27.viii. 1944, Jandira & Otto Schubart col., MZUSP 0108; Novo Horizonte, 23.xi. 1944, R. L. Araujo & Silva col., MZUSP 2646; Luis Antônio, Reserva Jataí, 17.iv. 2001, E. M. Cancello et al. col., MZUSP 11236, 11237; 07.v. 2009, G. P. Paciência col., MZUSP 16113; Santa Rita do Passa Quatro, 22.vii. 1999, A. M. Costa-Leonardo leg., UnB 1269.

Additional records. BRAZIL. Mato Grosso do Sul, Aquidauana (HF Cunha pers. comm.).


Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo














Rhynchotermes diphyes Mathews

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

Rhynchotermes diphyes

Krishna 2013: 1472
Mathews 1977: 157