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Part XXII: The Interdependence of Living Things : Social Behaviour of Animals Index

Interdependence of Living Things : Introduction
Groups which show social behaviour I :
Lions, African Hunting Dogs and Baboons

Groups which show social behaviour II :
Wolves, Hippopotamuses and Elephants

Social Insects : Bees
Social Insects : Ants
In conclusion
Chapter Summary (useful for revision)
Questions relating to this chapter

Topic Chapters Index

 

A worker termite © Shirley Burchill

A soldier termite © Shirley Burchill

A worker termite (left) and a soldier termite (right)
(not to scale)
A worker termite average length is 6mm, the soldier caste is around 15mm in length.

 

Drawing of a termite queen © Shirley Burchill

Drawing of a termite queen (not to scale)
The queen can grow to 20cm long and live between 20 - 30 years. She is 100x the size of the termite workers.

THE INTERDEPENDENCE OF LIVING THINGS

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Social insects: Termites

Termite colonies are found in regions of Africa, South America, Australia and the United States. They are social insects but less advanced than ant colonies. Termites are related more to cockroaches.

A termite nest, Thailand © Shirley Burchill

A termite nest, Thailand

 

The termite colony has three classes of individuals and each class includes both sexes. The reproductive class is represented by the king and the queen. These two individuals are locked away in a chamber in the centre of the termite nest.

 

YouTube  ©  National Geographic: Uploaded on Sep 8, 2009
Journey to the center of the...termite nest? Hard to believe this termite queen will produce almost 165 million eggs in her lifetime!

 

The queen becomes huge soon after fertilization as her abdomen swells with eggs. She lays these eggs at a rate of several thousand each day throughout her lifetime. The soldiers have enormous heads with powerful jaws. The queen, king and soldiers are fed by the workers.

Termites digest wood and paper. They do great damage to woodwork in houses, as well as to furniture and books. Some species of termites build nests up to 6 metres in height.

 

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