By applying the 16S rRNA mitochondrial marker to 434 populations of Reticulitermes termites from North, Central, and South America; France; and Germany with other locations around the world that we have analyzed, identical DNA sequence data were obtained from Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) in North America and Germany and for Reticulitermes santonensis Feytaud from undisturbed (nonurban) forested locations in western France. We also discovered identical DNA sequence data from previously unidentified Reticulitermes specimens from South America and Easter Island. Haplotypes F, M, and GG were observed in France; haplotype F in Germany; and haplotype GG was found on Easter Island, Santiago, Chile, and Montevideo, Uruguay. All of these haplotypes are found in numerous states within the continental United States. In light of their well documented morphological, chemical, and phylogenetic relationships, coupled with this new data that directly link these disjunct groups, R. flavipes and R. santonensis should be synonymized. Compared with other studies that largely suggest phyletic similarities, this is the first study that specifically matches haplotypes from North America (where populations of R. flavipes are endemic) with populations in Europe (where R. flavipes, described as R. santonensis, is presumed exotic).
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Vol. 98 • No. 3