Why are Termites Classified into Order Isoptera By Alan Soffan

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Why are Termites Classified into Order Isoptera
By Alan Soffan
Isoptera derived from Iso means equal or similar and ptera, means wings. Most of author said its equality present in the membraneous, shape, size (Pfadth, 1962; Elzinga, 1997) also in venation pattern between front and hind wings (Borror et al. 1976)


Borror, Donald J., Dwight M. De Long, Charles A. Triplehorn. 1976. An Introduction to the study of insects. Fourth edition. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. New York.852p.

Elzinga, Richard. 1997. Fundamentals of Entomology. Fourth edition. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.475p.

Pfadth, Robert E.1962. Fundamental of applied entomology.MacMillan Publishing Co. New York

By Arya Widyawan
Isoptera is formed two word iso and ptera. Iso means same and petra means wings. So that the isopetra means the same wings. The similarity is not exactly same, but essentially similar. Wings of isoptera are essentially similar in size, form (shape) and venation (Richards and Davies 1977). The length and span of wing are different according to species. African Macrotermes has a wing with 19 mm in length and 90 mm in wing span, while Microcerotermes has a wing length only 6mm and wing span 12 mm. The four wings are elongate oval in shape (Harris 1971).

Not all of isopetra has a similar wings. Mastotermes is an example of isopetra that has a different wings. The different is on the hind wing. The hind wings of Mastotermes have an enlarged anal lobe of the Blattid type (Figure 1) (Harris 1971).

Figure 1. Mastotermes darwiniensis

From: Evolution of Insect, http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521821495

Richards, O.W. and R.G. Davies. 1977. IMMs’ general textbook of entomology. 10th ed. Chapman and Hall, London.

Harris, W.V. 1971. Termites: their recognition and control. 2nd ed. Longman, London.

By Boy Valenza
Isoptera consist of two greek words, iso: equal, and ptera: wings (Coulson and Witter, 1984). The reason why termites are grouped as isoptera because alate termites have two pairs of wings in which their fore wings and hind wings are equal in size, form, and also venation (for example, see Figure 1 and 2)(Coulson and Witter, 1984 ; Richards and Davies, 1977). These wings are laid flat upon the back when not in use, are relatively long and narrow (as long as body or longer) (Comstock and Comstock, 1890 ; Borror and White, 1998).

Other special characteristics belong to this order are: social insect with caste differentiation, moniliform antennae, tarsi four segmented, the mouth-parts are formed for biting. The metamorphosis is incomplete (Comstock and Comstock, 1890 ; Borror and White, 1998).

Figure 1. Fore and Hind wings of Archotermopsis sp

Source: Richards and Davies (1977).

Figure 2. Fore and hind wings of Eutermes sp

Source: Richards and Davies (1977).

Boror, D. J. and White, R. E. 1998. A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico. HMCo Field Guides Publisher.

Comstock, J. H and Comstock, A. B. 1890. A manual for the study of Insects. Comstock Publishing Company.

Coulson, R, N. and Witter, J. A. 1984. Forest Entomology: Ecology and Management. Wiley-IEEE Publisher.

Richard, O. W. and Davies, R. G. 1977. IMMS' General Textbook of Entomology. Tenth Edition. Volume 2. John Wiley and Sons Publisher. New York.

By Haris Setyaningrum
Order Isoptera or some called “white ant” are famous in the world not only for farmer but also the civil society, because some species of Isoptera attack the house building and the goods inside the house. Generally these order called isopteran have special history. As we know these idiom came from, iso that mean aqual and ptera that mean wings, or another hand equal wings. But if we discuss more, it idiom related not only the equal size wing of front and hind wings. The “venation” either front or hind wings also similar, some scientist not called venation ( Borror, 1989). Another reason that may accepted, almost all the species of termites (isopteran) feed on and feces out with same form, as cellulose. Termites do not them selves have ability to digest wood, complex relationships have evolved with other organism ( bacteria, fungi and protozoa) that are able to degrade the food. Only workers and /or pseudogrates are able to feed themselves. Exchange of food material is effected either by anus-to mouth transfer (proctodeal feeding) or by mouth – to-mouth transfer (stomodeal feeding) (Gillot, 1980).
References :

Borror, Donald J. et.al. 1989. An introduction to the study of insect. 6th ed. Saunders college publ. New York.

Gillott, Cedric. 1980. Entomology. Plenum Press. New York.

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