Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Termite explosion

After a warm rain this morning one of the several mounds of the termite genus Termes exploded with columns of winged termites exiting into the morning sun. Several other mounds of this species remained as usual with not exodus of termites.
A Termes sp. mound with reproductives emerging from mound. The mounds of this species are relatively small and are always dome-like. They are often green from an alga that grows on the surface.
Thousands of reproductive termites heading off on their nuptial flight. The rest of the occupants of this mound will carry on as usual reducing the dead wood in the rainforest to nutritious food that plants and other organisms can assimilate. They are valuable members of the rainforest community.

The reproductives, males and females are off to start new mounds. Of course, only a few may be successful. But the local insect-eating birds, lizards and the like had a field day. After a few minutes, it was all over and the mound was quiet.

A winged reproductive Termes sp. termite. The sole purpose of this individual is to find a mate and, if a female, to attempt to establish a new colony.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Dave
Interesting to observe Termites swarming. I have only ever seen it a couple of times. Not quite as "heavy" as your swarm, though.
I have gone out on a limb against the broad scale spraying against Plague Locusts which is just getting under way in NSW and Victoria.
I am a bird watcher, not an entomologist, but I think it is insane.
I anticipate some back lash against my opinion.

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