The prevalence and diversity of ecological habitats in the world: Termites are indigenous social insects, categorized in the order Isoptera. Scientists have discovered more than 3106 species of them all over the world. Although some call them "termites", they are not ants (ants are classified in the order: Hymenoptera), although they are close to it in terms of life and behavior. Termites and ant species constitute 1% of all insect species, but together they represent more than 50% of the insect biomass (Biomass). The termite community includes between 30,000 and 2.2 million individuals. Termites are the most successful insect group on the planet, as they are spread over many parts of the land except Antarctica. Termite species diversity is low in North America and Europe (10 species known in Europe, 50 species in North America), but over 400 species are known in South America. Of the 3,000 currently classified species of termites, 1,000 are found in Africa, where termite mounds are abundant in certain areas. Researchers have counted 1.1 million active termites in the North Kruger National Park alone. In Asia, there are 435 species of termites, which are mainly spread in China. Within China, termites are restricted to temperate and subtropical habitats, such as the Yangtze River. In Australia, termites are endemic to the continent, where more than 360 species live. Termite groups: From an ecological point of view, there are three groups of termites: wet wood flooring, dry wood flooring, and subterranean flooring. As for the types of wet wood termites (Dampwood termites), they live only in forests, where they live in wood that contains a high percentage of moisture, and rarely live in the soil or in homes... As for the types of drywood termites, they live in forests Hardwood trees, and in dead trees and dry structural timber, and does not live under the surface at all.. and usually causes less damage.... An example of the drywood term group is the type called West Indian Drywood Termite (Cryptotermes brevis), which is An invasive species in Australia... While Subterranean Termites live in a wide variety of areas. It belongs taxonomically to the group of floor marshmallows (Rhinotermitidae), and it lives in the soil where it builds nests with channels connected to food sources, such as trees and houses. The most important formal characteristics of termites: In addition to the different classification of termites from ants, it is possible to distinguish termites from other types of insects such as ants, by examining the composition of their body, which is characterized by the following: Termites have very soft bodies and are predominantly pale colors, beige or light brown, while ants have solid bodies Usually dark in color - the termites have an oblong body, and there is no waist between the chest and abdomen, as is the case in ants - Antennae. In the termites, they are straight and they are of the nodular or filamentous type, while in ants we find them of the geniculate type. It is known that in the breeding season a winged generation appears to perform the wedding flight and fertilize the male with the queen in preparation for laying eggs and producing new offspring... In this generation, the wings of the termite are of equal shape and size, and the wings are longer than the body. In ants, the hind wings are smaller than the front wings. And when resting, the ants place their wings asymmetrically above the body, unlike the termites, whose wings extend identically above the abdomen completely. Diet and feeding method: Termites are major detritivores, especially in the subtropics and tropics, and their ability to recycle wood and plant matter gives them a significant role in the ecosystem. Primarily, termites eat dead plant matter and cellulose, which is generally available in wood, Waste leaves, soil dung or herbivores, herbs, and materials of cartoonish origin, such as cardboard, cotton, clothes, paper, carpets, mats, furniture and wooden furniture... There are types of termites that eat straw and other types that eat humus. As a result of the decomposition of dead plants or animal materials, as this decomposition results in many nutrients that benefit the soil, which is one of the types of termite foods... The fungi found in the old rotting wood of the food of the termites, because they need vitamins And nitrogen, and some other minerals, and this is what you find in these mushrooms, and it is usually digested by termites in an easier way than cellulose. You by stool containing a certain type of carbohydrate, as this stool can be reused and formed. Thus, the termites not only depend on the fungi produced by rotting materials, but also establish fungal farms and eat them.
Feeding methods: It is recently known that workers are the category entrusted with the digestion of cellulose in food, and therefore they are present in infected wood. Society members do not eat food directly, as they cannot feed themselves, especially the soldiers. After returning from the foraging trip to the nest (or community), the worker bees eat what they have collected first, and then feed the rest of their mates or nest occupants by a method of vomiting called "reciprocal feeding", or mouth-to-mouth feeding (Trophallaxis). And cross-feeding is an effective feeding tactic for converting and recycling nitrogenous compounds, as the given food has been chewed... There is another method of feeding called "anal feeding" that occurs only among members of the underground termite, as the worker empties fluid from the hind intestine ( either from the anus), and licked by their nest mates. The digestive system of workers of wood-eating termites (which is the most prevalent in Africa and the Middle East) contains some protozoa that help digest cellulose. , after mixing it with their residues, in the form of small mounds on the surface of the soil, and its presence is inferred.However, there are many species of termites whose digestive system does not contain protozoa, and it is not known until today how these workers digest cellulose. Transformation and life cycle: Termites are not like ants in terms of the life cycle and its stages. Ants are "complete metamorphosis", meaning that every individual in society goes through stages or stages in his life, namely the egg (Egg), the larva (Larva), the virgin (Pupa), then The adult stage. As for the Paurometabola, the egg hatches to produce a nymph, which eats and molts several times and grows to produce a young individual. It takes one generation in some species 4-7 months, and may extend in others 16 months. The yellow-necked termite (Calotermes flavicollis) for example (which is the most common species in the Middle East) takes the following periods in its life cycle: Egg: 50-60 days, first cycle of the nymph: 11-13 days, second cycle of the nymph: 13-18 days, third period For the mermaid: 16-18 days, the fourth round of the mermaid: 30-50 days, the fifth round of the nymph (from which the soldier is produced: 14 days. Social Organization (Category System in Termite Society): A termite community (colony) is described as its super entity because it constitutes a self-organizing unit that is the community (or colony) itself. Termites - such as ants, bees, and wasps (and this is of another order, the Order Hymemoptera) - includes groups that are different from each other, in terms of form and function, including workers (workers) and soldiers, and they are two non-fertile groups (they have no role in the reproduction process). All societies (colonies) have a fertile cora and one or more queens in each community. The size of a termite colony varies from a few hundred individuals to large communities of several million individuals. Female workers (or female workers): Workers are wingless and eyeless individuals, their jaws are small, and they are sterile. The maidservants bear the greatest burden of work in society, as they are responsible for grazing and collecting food for all members of their society, storing what they have collected of food, caring for offspring, feeding and raising offspring, and all work that leads to the stability of their society... They also build nests, corridors, tunnels, and rooms ( lobbies), which are concerned with mushroom farms developed by some termite communities. They represent approximately 97% of the total population of the community. Soldiers: Soldiers have special anatomical and behavioral characteristics, and their role in society is to defend all its members, stability and cohesion, even if they are sterile and do not reproduce. The number of soldiers represents 1-3% of the total population of the community. The soldier is distinguished by his huge head, and his strong jaws, which are large and serrated to the point that it prevents him from feeding himself, and therefore the worker feeds him. With their heads and jaws, soldiers defend their community against intruders. The shape of the jaws is an essential feature by which to differentiate between species... In the front of its head there are so-called "frontal head glands" fontanelles and they have simple holes through which defensive secretions rush, and they are famous in the species classified in the family Rhinotermitidae. Many types are distinguished. of the termites depending on the size of the body and the thickness of the large head and jaws.In certain types of termites, soldiers may use their rounded heads to block their narrow tunnels.There are different types of soldiers including the main soldiers (the major soldier) and the secondary soldiers (the regular soldier).There are soldiers They are called a nasus, and these uniquely shaped soldiers are able to spray a sticky, burning secretion (containing chemical diterpenes) on the enemies... The caste (or class) of soldiers are usually individuals. They are sterile, but in some species in the Archotermopsidae family, the soldiers have soldiers-like heads but have sexual organs. Reproductive classes: The reproductive casts in each community (or colony) include the fertile female and the male. We can call the female "Queen" and the male "King" by passing... As happens in ants, the males do nothing but pollinate the queen to continue the life of the community. As for the queen in society, she is responsible for producing eggs and linking the members of her kingdom to each other. The fertilized queen lays thousands of eggs, at a rate of six eggs every minute, of course during the spawning period. Only one male (king) lives with her in her kingdom. The termite queen is the longest-lived insect queen. Researchers have recorded that her age ranges between 5-30 years. In some species of termites, the abdomen of the queen swells terribly to raise production efficiency (Fecundity), and this characteristic is called "physogastrism". Depending on the species, the queen begins to produce winged individuals (alates) for breeding at a certain time each year , where swarms form from the community (the colony) to begin the nuptial flight during which the queen marries the male. These swarms face different types of predators. Reserve reproductive class: Its members are distinguished by its short wings, its body color less dark than the color of kings and queens, and its relatively smaller eyes. It has a remarkable ability to reproduce, and therefore it helps the queens in multiplying members of the same community. In addition to the additional individuals, there may be individuals that look like them but are sterile. Transitional movement and grazing behavior: It is known that workers and soldiers do not have wings, they do not fly, but the reproductive groups use their wings for a short period of time, and this makes the dependence of the termite on its legs (six legs) is the means of transitional movement from one place to another. Herding and foraging behavior depends on the type of termite. For example, certain species of termites feed by eating woody structures in the habitat in which they live, and other species wander near the nest to forage and gather food. Most of the workers are rarely found in open spaces, do not roam or graze in unsafe places, and they rely on running on highways (runways) to protect themselves from predator attacks. For example, subterranean species create tunnels and corridors to search for food, and foraging workers induce new mates to join the grazing expedition by scattering a phagostimulant pheromone to attract or summon them. The rapping workers communicate with each other using special chemicals, and the workers who start grazing outside the nest release the "affect pheromone" from the sternal glands in their bodies. For example, in the species called Nasutitermes costalis, there are three phases of the grazing campaign. The first: Soldiers survey or explore the nature of the area desired for grazing. When they see a source of food in it, these soldiers communicate with other soldiers and form a small band of workers. In the second stage: the workers appear in large numbers on the site. The third stage: the number of soldiers present decreases and the number of female workers increases. Isolated (protected) workers may be preoccupied with the application of trotting behavior as a strategy to find nest mates or graze outdoors for food. How Termites Communicate With Each Other: Termites communicate with each other with chemical signals, such as odors called “pheromones” (alarm and warning pheromones, trace pheromones, contact pheromones, sex pheromones), whereby each individual can change the behavior of the other by releasing these odors. The work of some types of pheromones requires the individual to come into contact with the other to communicate, while other pheromones are volatile substances that spread among individuals through the air. Each community (or colony) is characterized by a specific smell that is like an "identity card" or "password", depending on various factors, such as the meal (its location, nature and quantity) and the amount and type of fluorescence (microbes) present in the intestine (which digest the cellulose present). in wood meal. Alert to the presence of a food source: Trail pheromones (released from a ventral or sternal gland) can be used for a variety of purposes, such as calling workers for food sources, marking a new nest-establishing site, and/or summoning and recruiting soldiers for defense. The predators of the predators secrete and shed these pheromones on the way to search for food, and they are substances that are smelled by other workers that can be summoned to support the precursors and reach the food site. Warning of danger: When feeling the presence of a source of danger (such as the presence of an intruder or a stranger within the boundaries of the community, or even discovering the presence of a pathogenic organism (such as a virus) potentially harmful to the community), the workers start to sound an alarm by emitting alarm pheromones (through a gland frontal with the body) or by causing vibrations and physical contact, the workers may run in a zigzag way, or shiver, or collide with other individuals...Everyone in the community (the nest) senses the meaning of these alarms through olfactory or vibrating receptors or others.And soldiers are more Personnel summoned to the place of danger Soldiers can also perform kinetic vibrations or vibrations as a means of communicating with other soldiers and calling them to the place of danger. Since each class of the termite community has its own pheromone odor, the queen can explore the state of missing a particular class's pheromone. For example, if members of the ants break into a community (or colony) of termites and kill a large number of members of this class, the queen produces an excess number of soldiers to fill the deficit and save the community. Proprietary scents: The queen, too, can release release pheromones to control behavior (such as directing workers to care for the queen and the eggs she lays).
e) or primary (elementary) pheromones to regulate physiological processes (such as: curbing workers that may emit signals that they are a reproductive category - a danger to the queen). It is also released from the eggs of the queen itself, a pilot pheromone to suppress or stop the development of non-royal individuals to produce reproductive individuals). It is possible that non-royal individuals that have reproductive potential influence the reproductive development of the queen, by affecting the endocrine (hormone-producing) system, which is still being researched and studied until now.
Mounds Nests are considered mounds or mounds if they protrude above the ground. The mound gives protection to the members of the community as the nest gives them, and even more. As for the mounds made in areas of permanent rainfall, they are exposed to the dangers of carving, erosion and erosion of the mound, because their structure is rich in mud. Cardboard mounds can provide protection from rain and, in fact, can withstand heavy dew. There are certain areas of the hillock that are used as strength points in the event of an invasion or intrusion of the hillock. For example, termites of the soil-eating genus Cubitermes build narrow tunnels to use as strength points, and the smaller the diameter of the tunnels, the more soldiers will block or close it. There is a protected room, called the "Queen's Chamber", which houses the Queen and the King, and is used as the last line of defense. It is said that species of the genus Macrotermes build the most complex structures in the world of insects, which are huge mounds, each one reaches a height of about 8-9 meters, and consists of stacks, towers, edges, protrusions and pegs. Another type of termite, called the magnetic termite, or compass termite (Amitermes meridionalis) can build nests up to four meters high and three meters wide. Overall, the longest mound of land with a height of 12.8 meters was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the continent of Africa. Sometimes, mounds of elaborate and distinct shapes are built, such as that built by the terrestrial type called "Amitermes meridionalis." Its common name.This orientation and control, from an empirical point of view, helps in thermoregulation inside the hill.The north-south orientation makes the interior temperature of the hill increase rapidly during the morning, while avoiding excessive temperature rise during the fall of the sun at noon.The temperature remains tolerable during the day. The rest of the day until evening comes and the temperature drops. Economic Importance: Before we discuss the damage and dangers of termites, there are some peoples who use termites from many traditional medicine treatments... and there are peoples in Africa who eat the termites... Termites are an enemy to humans, because they are very harmful insects to his property, as they build passages and entrances that are difficult to access, and they destroy many papers, books, manuscripts, the contents of museums, libraries, and wood in residences and buildings, and damage the timber of bridges, railway beams (flanges) and telephone poles, in addition to It damages wooden furniture, ceilings, and building supports... The floor also damages silk, bones, cardboard, leather, clothes, rugs, and others. They rob many of the market of live plants and their roots, such as forest trees, apricots, almonds, vines, sumac, sugar cane, cotton and others... The danger of the termite is due to its ability to adapt to all kinds of hot, moderate and cold conditions, and all kinds of soil and materials containing cellulose... Also, nests (colonies) live under the surface of the earth for about 30 years, during which the queen lays millions of eggs per year.. The danger of the termites is also due to the fact that it gnaws at wood, enters it and hides from people’s sight, and people see nothing but its destructive effects, in the remains of paralyzed trees, rot of wood boards and waste of all kinds... The land is registered as one of the very dangerous insects on buildings and real estate wealth in many regions of the Emirates. Signs and appearance of termite infestation: We mention one of the most important signs of floor infection in buildings and fields: The infection appears in houses built in the form of tunnels, demolishing walls and emptying them from the inside. There are also spots and irregular shapes of dust on the walls - the sticking of rugs and brushes on the floor and the parquet made of wood, and when removed, they rupture and the effects of eating the floor appear in the form of dust in the place of erosion - eating the wood adjacent to the walls, such as wheels and others, as well as windows, doors and ceilings made From tree trunks - the presence of mud tubes through walls and windows, starting from the ground and extending to the source of the injury - the presence of splitting termite wings on the ground indicates the entry of new individuals in the place and the establishment of new nests (colonies) - the presence of irregular gaps in the mud bricks - hearing voices during the night The crackling of fires - the erosion of cotton mattresses, pillows, and wood inside homes - is like sacks and sacks sticking to the floor and ripping them apart as a result of eating insects in silos. In the fields and farms, tunnels and mud blocks are seen on the tree trunks, and the presence of a layer of mud on the lower area of the tree trunk, with drying and burning of the ends of the branches and the appearance of black color - the drying of crops and the appearance of wilting is seen despite the availability of water in the soil, and the presence of vegetation-free foci that gradually extend to include The whole field, the dying plants. The most important means of combating termites: Termites are insects that have a great ability to adapt to the environment, and it is difficult to reach their nests and communities (colonies) because they are in tunnels under the surface of the soil, and despite that, control operations should continue to reduce their damage, even if their elimination or extermination is almost impossible, except Because of climatic changes and the inadequacy of the environmental conditions for their life... Control specialists are trying to apply chemical control methods, and it is said that chemical pesticides are the only substances that have the ability to reach some levels of infested soil, and this is with regard to the types of underground termites whose nests may be located at depths up to For tens of meters... they protect the exposed area and pack it with pesticides, and in the case of new facilities, the soil under the facility is treated and immersed with pesticides. However, there are some studies conducted at the research level only to combat some microbial products (microbes). Bio-screening), using special types of fungi, bacteria and some pathogens such as nematodes, but it is not feasible at the applied level...
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