New termite species, chiraharitae spotted in Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary

Researchers have discovered a new termite species Glyptotermes chiraharitae from the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary at Kakkayam near here. The discovery by researcher Amina Poovoli and Rajmohana K, Senior scientist at the Zoological Survey of India, Kozhikode was published inZoosystema, the Journal of Natural History Museum, Paris last week.

Key Facts:

Termites are of three types —damp wood, dry wood and subterranean. Glyptotermes Chiraharitae species are of the damp wood category. They infest parts of woods with high moisture content, the decaying or rotting areas in particular. They are exclusively wood dwelling and do not require any contact with soil. The flying adults of this species are approximately 10 mm long, while the soldiers are around 9.5 mm long.

Compared to other insect groups, the diversity of termite species have not been documented fully with only 285 species in India and just 61 species documented from Kerala.

The same team of researchers had in 2013 discovered a new species of termite from the forests of Idukki , the genus of which was an endemic to Sri Lanka till then.

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