T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Termites (Epifamily Termitoidae)

Kingdom  Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum  Hexapoda
Class  Insecta
Order  Blattodea
Superfamily  Blattoidea
No Taxon: Epifamily Termitoidae
Common name: White ants (they are unrelated to ants)
 
There are 2,900 species in almost 300 genera of 9 families worldwide in the Epifamily Termitoidae group of termites.
Termites are eusocial, which means they have the highest level of organization of animal sociality. They practise brood care of offspring from other individuals; they divide labour into reproductive and non-reproductive groups. Both males and females maintain the colony. There is a reproductive caste (Kings and Queens) and also a sterile worker caste. Many species also produce a soldier caste. Soldiers are not merely larger workers. Their head capsules are uniquely designed for defending the colonies, with various species having different designs, depending on the greatest threats for that species. Most Soldiers cannot feed themselves, and instead rely on workers to feed and groom them. Soldiers can be recognized by their darker head capsules.
Their diet is dead plant material mostly wood. Symbiotic bacteria and/or protozoans assist in digesting the cellulose.

The termite colony photographed below was in an old rotting rata log. Eggs,Juveniles and adult.
 



A soldier termite with large head.