Friday, March 6, 2009

Beneath The Earth - Termites

Ants and Termites can sometimes seem difficult to distinguish between each other. Both are also social insects and and raise their young as a group. I have seen termites in actions over several locations during my field trip. Below are some of the photos that I have taken.

I would say termites are very strong, they carry foods that are sometimes the same weight with their body and travel a long journey before back to their nest.
Workers represent the majority of the colony population and are responsible for caring for eggs, constructing and maintaining tunnels, foraging for food and feeding.Termites sometimes travel quite a distance to get their foods and nothing stand in their ways.
Pass through kerb, drain, open area, ... before returning to their nest.
Soldiers are responsible for defending the colony. They are equipped with an enlarged, hardened head containing two large jaws, or mandibles, which are used as a weapon against predators. Note the different in size in the photo above (lower left corner).
Close up photo to look at the differences between workers and soldiers.
The soldiers also act as 'Security Officer' to sniff out spies or enemies.When the soldier and worker termite meet each other, they will shake their body and looks like they are performing some kind or ritual... (I'm not sure if this is how they exchange information to determine if they are from the same colony...feel free to comment if you have the answer)
During my last visit to AH Butterfly Park, I got to see the termite nest entrance for the 1st time!

There are several entrance to their nest and each entrance are guard by several soldier termites. Looks like they have all their colony well protected, from the nest, the entrances all the ways to the food source.
# Do you know that termite is the acknowledged master architect of the creature world.? #
~Termites mound is the world's tallest non-human structures(in terms of their body size)
~Best natural air-conditioned(well ventilated to support the super huge colony)
~Termites never stop working and eating. They work 24 hours a day.

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