Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
|Specimen Records:||101||Public Records:||9|
|Specimens with Sequences:||55||Public Species:||5|
|Specimens with Barcodes:||50||Public BINs:||4|
|Species With Barcodes:||9|
Amitermitinae constitute a subfamily of harvester termites and allies (family Termitidae) in the Isoptera infraorder. They have been merged with the Termitinae subfamily and are considered by ITIS as an invalid taxon.   However, a case could be made to keep them in their own subfamily because they have some important attributes that affect soil.
Amitermitinae consists of 18 genera and 296 species. They have as typical characteristics a usually rounded head and a bilobed clypeus. The mandibles of their soldiers have usually a single median tooth.
They have evolved the ability to have many reproductives in their colony, up to a hundred, which allows very large colonies. As with other members of their Termitidae family, they have lost most of their cellulose digesting protozoa. Instead they digest fungi, which fungi digest the cellulose and other organic matter. As a result the Termitidae can make use of a wide variety of food. Not only rotten wood, but also grass, seeds, dung, soil, and detritus   are all used by one species or another. In addition some species can synthesize nitrogen compounds 
Many members of the Amitermitinae have evolved a very effective way of securing food. The Amitermes genera especially build a shell of earth by cementing the earth with their saliva and use it to cover vegetation. This smothers the plant and they can then eat the fungi that grows in the safety of the covering. They probably evolved in savanna regions. They probably evolved in monsoon and desert regions because their runways are not very resistant to rain erosion They use saliva to build runways, and this is an adaptation of an earlier use of saliva to entangle enemies 
The cemented soil is richer in phosphorus than the soil it is derived from  This causes an increased loss of phosphorus from sheet erosion. It is probably a major part of the reason why tropical savanna soils are depleted in phosphorus, especially in Australia. The Termes genus branch probably arose in Africa  Amitermitinae are thought to have arisen in southeast Asia  probably from primitive Oriental Termitinae  in early Cretaceous  but it may be even more likely in Australia, since that is where phosphate deposits were clustered in late Jurassic and early Cretaceous  The primitive Amitermitinae species are most numerous in those regions at present. The development of at least 25 fundamentally different sesquiterpenes and several unique cyclic ethers for termite defense in Amitermitinae  hint at considerable success and large numbers in the early years for such systems must be elaborate to evolve.
- Moriya Ohkuma, Hiroe Yuzawa , Weerawan Amornsak, Yupaporn Sornnuwat, Yoko Takematsu, Akinori Yamada, Charunee Vongkaluang, Quab Sarnthoy, Nit Kirtibutr, Napavarn Noparatnaraporn, Toshiaki Kudo and Tetsushi Inoue (May 2004). "Molecular phylogeny of Asian termites (Isoptera) of the families Termitidae and Rhinotermitidae based on mitochondrial COII sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31 (2): 701–710. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.09.009. PMID 15062804.
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- Weber CE (1993) Cretaceous termites and soil phosphorus. J. Soil Biol. Ecol. 13; 108-121.
- Noirot CH (1969) Glands and secretions of termites p89-119 in; Biology of Termites. Krishnar K Weesner M, ed. Vol I, Academic Press NY.
- Weber CE (1993) Cretaceous termites and soil phosphorus. J. Soil Biol. Ecol. 13; page 111.
- Emerson AE (1955) Geographical origin and dispersions of termite genera. FieldianaZool. 37; 465-521; p. 478
- Krishna K (1970) Taxonomy, phylogeny, and distribution of termites p127-150 in: Biology of Termites, Vol II Krishna K & Weesner FM, eds. Aademic Press NY.
- Bouillon A (1970) Termites of the Ethiopian region, in; Biology of Termites. Krishna A Weesner FM eds. Academic Press, NY.; p. 162
- Cook PJ (1984) Spatial and temporal controls on the formation of phosphate deposits- a review P242-274; page = 251; map in; Phosphate Minerals. Nriagu JO Moore PB eds Springer Verlag Berlin NY.
- Prestwick GD (1983) The chemical defenses of termites. Sci. American 249; pp. 78-87.
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