The Entomological Society of America recognized termites as cockroaches. In other words, termites finally became part of the order of cockroaches: in comparison with the volume of common signs, the differences were recognized as insignificant.
KEEP IN MIND
The first discovery that made scientists think about revising the classification was made back in the 30s of the last century. Then, in the intestines of termites and cockroaches, extremely similar microorganisms were found that make it possible to assimilate wood.
With the advent of genetic research, it became clear that among the termites there is a primitive species that is simultaneously close in characteristics to both termites and cockroaches. And tree cockroaches have common DNA with termites and complex social behavior. Gnawing passages in wood, they use the resulting maze as a hiding place for raising offspring. At the same time, the evolutionary path of these insects remains unknown: it is still not clear at which stage of development and why they switched to a social lifestyle. By the way, the first termites were winged. Now on Earth, there are 2933 species of termites, and together with fossils, science knows 3106.
THIS IS FUN
Like all social insects, termites are divided into three groups: workers, soldiers, and individuals that are capable of breeding. Workers have a soft white body up to 10 mm in length. The eyes are reduced or absent.
In reproductive bodies, the body is dark and the eyes are developed. And unlike termites of other groups, reproductive ones have wings. True, they use them for their intended purpose only once in a lifetime.
One day, insects fly out of the dwelling and rise to a height of up to 60 m above the termite mound, and then, dropping down, shed their wings in order to find a pair on the ground and establish their colony. It could be a hole in the ground or a crack in the trunk of a rotting tree. Here the male and female build a royal cell, coating it from the inside with chewed wood mixed with saliva. When the cell is ready, the couple seals the entrance and from that moment the uterus with the male is engaged only in laying eggs.
Most of the hatched individuals become workers – sterile males and females. They bring food, build and repair a termite mound. By the way, the uterus can lay up to 3000 eggs per day, and the average life span of a queen is fifteen years.
IT IS INTERESTING
If something threatens the queen or there is a partial destruction of the termite mound, soldiers come to its defense. They try to hold back the enemy’s offensive until the worker termites repair the dwelling, and in this case, the soldiers have trapped themselves and can no longer get out of it.
At the same time, soldier termites, unlike workers and reproductive individuals, are armed with powerful long mandibles (jaws), which help them to protect the colony from enemies. Some tropical species also have a small process on the head, through which a special sticky substance is injected into the attackers, which dries upon contact with air and constrains the movement.
ON A NOTE
Most of the termites live in the subtropical and tropical zones.
The smallest (up to 2.5 mm) live in South America. The largest (up to 22 mm) are found in Mexico and Arizona. On the territory of our country, only two species were found in the region of Vladivostok and Sochi.
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