Minor and major soldiers and worker of Dolichorhinotermes longidens, photographed by Yves Laurent.

Belongs within: Isoptera.
Contains: Parrhinotermes, Schedorhinotermes, Prorhinotermes, Reticulitermes, Coptotermes, Heterotermes, Macrotermitinae, Termitinae, Apicotermitinae.

The Rhinotermitidae is a family of termites that usually nest within damp wood (often buried in soil), though they may forage into dry wood (Maiti 2006). Many species have dimorphic soldiers, with minor soldiers having the fontanelle drawn out on a frontal tube that is used to spread defensive chemicals.

Characters (from Maiti 2006): Imago: Head oval to round, lateral sides parallel or convex; Y-suture distinct or indistinct. Fontanelle either minute or moderately prominent, fontanelle plate absent. Postclypeus either flat or weakly swollen. Mandibles each with one apical and three marginal teeth, first marginal of right mandible greatly reduced. Antennae with 14-23 segments. Pronotum flat. Forewing scale generally large, overlapping hindwing scale except in Reticulitermes and Psammotermes. Apical tibial spurs 3:2:2; tarsi with four segments; cerci two-segmented. Soldier: Monomorphic or dimorphic. Head oval or subrectangular. Fontanelle always present, opening variable in size and placement, sometimes placed either just on or near clypeus (Coptotermes) or on head-dorsum or on frontal tube drawn out anteriorly (Acorhinotermes); frontal furrow or fronto-clypeolabral furrow either present or absent. Labrum variable, either with or without hyaline tip; either broadly tongue-shaped or pentagonal or long drawn out; either with a few bristles near apical tip or a daubing brush. Mandibles well developed, at times reduced in minor soldier (Rhinotermes, Dolichorhinotermes, Acorhinotermes), either with marginal teeth or with a few crenulations on left mandible in basal half or without any marginal teeth and crenulations. Antennae with 12-17 segments. Pronotum flat. Apical tibial spur formula 3:2:2 (except in Glossotermes 2:2:2); tarsi four-segmented; cerci two-segmented.

<==Rhinotermitidae [Mesotermitidae, Serritermitidae]
    |  i. s.: ParastylotermesGE05
    |         StylotermesGE05 [Stylotermitidae, StylotermitinaeIVE07]
    |           `--S. fletcheriA50
    |    |  i. s.: Macrorhinotermes Holmgren 1913M06
    |    |           `--*M. maximus [=Schedorhinotermes (Macrorhinotermes) maximus]M06
    |    |--+--ParrhinotermesIVE07
    |    |  `--SchedorhinotermesIVE07
    |    `--+--Rhinotermes Hagen 1858IVE07, H42
    |       |    |--*R. nasutus (Perty 1830) (see below for synonymy)M06
    |       |    |--R. hispidus Emerson 1925M06
    |       |    |--R. manni Snyder 1926M06
    |       |    `--R. marginalis (Linnaeus 1758) [=Hemerobius marginalis, Termes (Rhinotermes) marginalis]M06
    |       `--+--Acorhinotermes Emerson & Snyder in Snyder 1949M06
    |          |    `--*A. subfusciceps (Emerson 1925) [=Rhinotermes subfusciceps]M06
    |          `--DolichorhinotermesIVE07
    |               |--D. hageniM06
    |               |--D. latilabrum (Snyder 1926) [=Rhinotermes latilabrum]M06
    |               |--D. longidens (Snyder 1926) [=Rhinotermes longidens]M06
    |               |--D. longilabius (Emerson 1925) [=Rhinotermes longilabius]M06
    |               `--D. tenebrosus (Emerson 1925) [=Rhinotermes tenebrosus]M06
    `--+--+--Termitogeton Desneux 1904IVE07, M06 [Termitogetoninae]
       |  |    |--*T. umbilicatus (Hagen 1858) [=Termes umbilicatus]M06
       |  |    |--T. minor Thapa 1982M06
       |  |    `--T. planus (Hairland 1898) [=Termes planus]M06
       |  `--Serritermes Wasmann 1897IVE07, CD04 [Serritermitinae]
       |       `--S. serriferM06
          |  `--PsammotermitinaeM06
          |       |--Glossotermes Emerson 1950 [Glossotermitinae]M06
          |       |    |--*G. oculatus Emerson 1950M06
          |       |    `--G. sulcatus Cancello & DeSouza 2004CD04
          |       `--Psammotermes Desneux 1902IVE07, M06
          |            |--*P. hybostoma Desneux 1902 (see below for synonymy)M06
          |            |--P. allocerus Silvestri 1908M06
          |            |--P. rajasthanicus Roonwal & Bose 1960M06
          |            |--P. tibiaoensiformisIVE07
          |            `--P. voeltzkowi Wassmann in Voeltzkow 1910M06
             |    |--ReticulitermesIVE07
             |    `--+--CoptotermesIVE07
             |       `--HeterotermesIVE07
                  |  i. s.: FirmitermesGN54
                  |         Hermitermes silvestriZS10
                  `--+--+--SphaerotermesA50 [SphaerotermitinaeIVE07]
                     |  |    `--S. sphaerothoraxA50
                     |  `--ForaminitermitinaeIVE07
                     |       |--Foraminitermes valensIVE07
                     |       `--Labritermes buttelreepeniIVE07

*Psammotermes hybostoma Desneux 1902 [incl. P. assuanensis Sjostedt 1912, P. fuscofemoralis Sjostedt 1904, P. senegalensis Sjostedt 1924]M06

*Rhinotermes nasutus (Perty 1830) [=Termes nasutum, T. (Rhinotermes) nasutus; incl. Rhinotermes taurus Desneux 1904]M06

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A50] Ahmad, M. 1950. The phylogeny of termite genera based on imago-worker mandibles. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 95 (2): 37–86.

[CD04] Cancello, E. M., & O. DeSouza. 2004. A new species of Glossotermes (Isoptera): reappraisal of the generic status with transfer from the Rhinotermitidae to the Serritermitidae. Sociobiology 44 (3): 1–19.

[GN54] Grassé, P.-P., & C. Noirot. 1954. Apicotermes arquieri (Isoptère): ses constructions, sa biologie. Considérations générales sur la sous-famille des Apicotermitinae nov. Annales des Sciences Naturelles—Zoologie et Biologie Animale, ser. 11, 16: 345–388.

[H42] Hill, G. F. 1942. Termites (Isoptera) from the Australian Region (including Australia, New Guinea and islands south of the Equator between 140°E. longitude and 170°W. longitude). Commonwealth of Australia Council for Scientific and Industrial Research: Melbourne.

[IVE07] Inward, D. J. G., A. P. Vogler & P. Eggleton. 2007. A comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of termites (Isoptera) illuminates key aspects of their evolutionary biology. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44: 953–967.

[M06] Maiti, P. K. 2006. A taxonomic monograph on the world species of termites of the family Rhinotermitidae (Isoptera: Insecta). Memoirs of the Zoological Survey of India 20 (4): i–viii, 1–272.

[ZS10] Zborowski, P., & R. Storey. 2010. A Field Guide to Insects in Australia 3rd ed. Reed New Holland: Sydney.

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