What's in a name?

Johanna P.E.C. Darlington


The name I have in mind is Nasutitermes intermedius. Nasutitermes is the name of a genus of small termites in which the soldiers have a rounded head tapering to a projecting nozzel in front called the nasus, through which a defensive secretion is squirted at an enemy. N. intermedius is the name given by the American taxonomist Nathan Banks in 1919 to soldiers collected by R.W. Thaxter on the Aripo Savannas (variously spelled, including Arepa, Origo) near Cumuto, Trinidad. The description, as usual in those days, was sketchy and the illustration somewhat crude. The only later published record of this species is by Emerson (1925) from Kartabo, Bartica District, Guyana. He described the winged reproductive (alate) and gave a good line drawing of the soldier. Confusingly, this does not appear to be the same termite.

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