Subterranean termite species, their habitat preferences and nest habits at Xuan Son National Park, a lowland and lower mountain evergreen and limestone forest in northern Vietnam, were investigated in 2002 and 2003. A total of 234 collections were obtained from 588 sampling sites, on 12 transects, among four different habitat types.
Fifteen species in eight genera and two families were recorded. Termitidae was the dominant family with six genera and 12 species. The genus Odontotermes with five, contained the largest number of species. Five species were new records for northern Vietnam: Odontotermes maesodensis Ahmad, 1965, Nasutitermes ovatus Fan, 1983, Pericaptitermes latignathus (Holmgren, 1913), Pericaptitermes nitobei Shiraki, 1909 and Bulbitermes laticephalus Ahmad, 1965. The inventory included eight fungus-growing species: Macrotermes barneyi Light, 1924, Ma. annandalei (Silvestri, 1914), O. yunnanensis Tsai et Chen, 1963, O. hainanensis Light, 1924, O. formosanus Sharaki, 1909, O. maesodensis Ahmad, 1965, O. graveli (Silvestri, 1914) and Microtermes pakistanicus Ahmad, 1965. Five species: M. barneyi, O. yunnanensis, O. hainanensis, O. formosanus and M. pakistanicus occurred in all habitat types. The scrubland/grassland habitat contained 14 species, forest habitats 12 species, cultivated lands eight species and residential areas contained only six species. In forest habitats 56.2% of sample plots yielded termites, in scrubland/grasslands 54.5%, 32% of plots on cultivated land produced termites and in residential habitats only 18% had termites. Six species identified are considered special pests because their activities weaken earthen structures: M. pakistanicus, M. barneyi, M. annandalei, O. yunnanensis, O. hainanensis and O. formosanus. Nesting patterns of surveyed species are noted with special attention to species that inhabit earthen structures.