Barden, Phillip & Ware, Jessica L., 2017, Relevant Relicts: The Impact of Fossil Distributions on Biogeographic Reconstruction, Insect Systematics and Diversity 1 (1), pp. 73-80 : 74

publication ID 10.1093/isd/ixx005

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Mastotermes , Australia and Beyond

Termites, superfamily Termitoidea in the order Blattodea , comprise ~2,900 species with global geographical ranges. Mastotermes Froggatt is a monotypic genus consistently recovered as sister to the remaining extant termites; it has been recovered in a polytomy of stem lineages at the basal nodes of the termite phylogeny (e.g., morphology: Engel et al. 2009; total evidence: Ware et al., 2010; molecules: Bourguignon et al. 2015). Mastotermes darwinensis Froggatt is currently restricted to

Queensland, Australia and is considered an invasive in New Zealand. The fossil record of this genus, however, reveals a much broader ancestral range ( Fig. 1 View Fig ) ( Pongrácz 1928, Snyder 1949, Emerson 1965, Jarzembowski 1980, Carpenter 1992, Nel and Paicheler 1993, Fontes and Vulcano 2004, Wappler and Engel 2003, Nel and Bourguet 2006, Krishna et al. 2013, Engel et al. 2016). Fossils have been described from the Western Palaearctic: United Kingdom (Eocene), Germany (Eocene), France (Cretaceous, Eocene, and Oligocene), Poland (Miocene), Croatia (Miocene); the Eastern Palaearctic: Russia (Cretaceous) the Afrotropics: Ethiopia (Miocene); and the Neotropics: Dominican Republic and Mexico (Miocene). In the absence of the fossil distributions, Mastotermes seems like a classic case of endemism in Australia, underscoring the importance of considering fossil biogeographical data when inferring drivers of current species ranges. Considering the phylogenetic position of Mastotermes , these inferences are important as they have the potential to inform interpretations of dispersal and extinction in the oldest living termite lineage.