Termites shape and are shaped by their mounds

Termite construction projects have no architects, engineers or foremen, and yet these centimeter-sized insects build complex, long-standing, meter-sized structures all over the world. How they do it has long puzzled scientists.

Termite queen, king recognition pheromone identified

Researchers at North Carolina State University have for the first time identified a specific chemical used by the higher termite castes—the queens and the kings—to communicate their royal status with worker termites. ...

Giving cockroaches the slip (w/ Video)

(PhysOrg.com) -- A breakthrough by scientists at Cambridge University may terminate the threat of termites, cockroaches and other pests such as ants and locusts - responsible for billions of pounds worth of damage to homes, ...

Diuscovery in amber reveals ancient biology of termites

The analysis of a termite entombed for 100 million years in an ancient piece of amber has revealed the oldest example of "mutualism" ever discovered between an animal and microorganism, and also shows the unusual biology ...

Birds do it, bees do it; termites don't, necessarily

Scientists at North Carolina State University and three universities in Japan have shown for the first time that it is possible for certain female termite "primary queens" to reproduce both sexually and asexually during their ...

Gold-coated fungi are the new gold diggers

The thread-like fungi attach gold to their strands by dissolving and precipitating particles from their surroundings, in a process that could offer clues for finding new gold deposits.

Let's mimic termite nests to keep human buildings cool

When it comes to building sustainable buildings, humans have a lot to learn from termites. A recent study that colleagues and I published in Science Advances explains how some African termites maintain cool and stable temperatures ...

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Termite

Mastotermitidae Kalotermitidae Termopsidae Hodotermitidae Rhinotermitidae Serritermitidae Termitidae

The termites are a group of social insects usually classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera (but see also taxonomy below). As truly social animals, they are termed eusocial along with the ants and some bees and wasps which are all placed in the separate order Hymenoptera. Termites mostly feed on dead plant material, generally in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung, and about 10% of the estimated 4,000 species (about 2,600 taxonomically known) are economically significant as pests that can cause serious structural damage to buildings, crops or plantation forests. Termites are major detrivores, particularly in the subtropical and tropical regions, and their recycling of wood and other plant matter is of considerable ecological importance.

As eusocial insects, termites live in colonies that, at maturity, number from several hundred to several million individuals. They are a prime example of decentralised, self-organised systems using swarm intelligence and use this cooperation to exploit food sources and environments that could not be available to any single insect acting alone. A typical colony contains nymphs (semi-mature young), workers, soldiers, and reproductive individuals of both genders, sometimes containing several egg-laying queens.

Termites are sometimes called "white ants", though they are unrelated to true ants.

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