The western drywood termite, Incisitermes minor (Hagen) and the light southern drywood termite I. snyderi (Light) are common drywood termites in southwestern and the southern United States, respectively. Despite the economic importance of these 2 species, no information exists on the mitochondrial genetic diversity of I. minor and I. snyderi. A molecular genetics study involving DNA sequencing of a portion of the mitochondrial DNA 16S rRNA gene was undertaken to determine the extent of genetic variation in I. minor and I. snyderi. A total of 12 haplotypes were observed for I. minor collected from Florida, Oregon, Arizona, Texas, Utah, and California. For I. snyderi, a total of 10 haplotypes were observed from the Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Genetic variation among I. minor haplotypes ranged from 0.7 to 3.7% and variation for I. snyderi ranged from 0.7 to 2.4%. Maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood analysis revealed 3 distinct clades for I. snyderi, whereas, I. minor had 2 distinct clades. This is the first study on mitochondrial genetic variation of the drywood termites I. minor and I. snyderi. There appears to be enough genetic variation within these 2 species for a molecular phylogeographic study, which may provide insight into dispersal and introductions of these species.
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Vol. 95 • No. 1