Termite Soldiers Are Not The Only Defenders Of A Termite Colony

Termite Soldiers Are Not The Only Defenders Of A Termite Colony

The amount of individual termites on earth is staggeringly high. The abundance of termite species that dwell within varied environments around the world provide other animals with an easy source of food. There is no doubting the claim that termites are a relatively successful species as far as adaptation and survival are concerned. However, termites do not treat any animals as prey; instead termites are considered prey to other animals. These termite predators include birds, primates, amphibians and ants, and that is only naming a few. Termites make for an ideal food source due to the fact that they are easily accessible to predators. For example, termite nests make for ideal targets for foraging predators since nests can contain up to millions of individual termites. Termite soldiers only exist to defend colonized nests. But some termite species are not blessed with protective and fierce soldiers. In fact, some soldier species are largely worthless when it comes to preventing predatory attacks. This is why termite colonies have developed a multitude of various defensive strategies that go well beyond the capabilities of a single soldier caste.

There are two types of termites that exist in the world. One type is referred to as “one-piece nesters”. And the other type is referred to as “seperate-piece nesters”. One-piece nesters do not have to travel in order to locate food sources. Instead these termites constantly feed within their own colonies. Most drywood termites feed on the logs that they inhabit. Therefore these termites do not have to risk being killed while foraging. Obviously such drywood species are considered one-piece nesters. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, must forage through soil in order to reach food sources, this makes them more vulnerable to predators. Subterranean termites are considered separate-piece nesters for this reason. These termites do not get to enjoy the freedom from predators like one-piece nesters do. Many termite colonies have collectively adapted to survive predatory attacks by creating remarkably hard and thick termite mounds. These mound-building termites have learned to isolate themselves from predators by perfecting nest-building techniques. In some situations termite workers can do more to defend a colony than soldiers. For example, workers from the Neocapritermes taracua species have evolved the ability to explode kamikaze style when they encounter enemy insects. Although termite soldiers evolved solely for colony protection, termite soldiers are far from being the only line of defense against predatory attacks.

Do you believe that termite colonies survive predatory attacks due to their unusually high population numbers, as opposed to the defensive abilities of soldier castes?


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