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Termites are detritivores, consuming dead plants at any level of decomposition. They also play a very important role in the ecosystem by recycling waste material such as dead timber, faeces and plants.8182 Many species eat cellulose, having a specialised midgut that divides down the fiber.83 Termites are considered to be a significant source (11 percent ) of atmospheric methane, one of the prime greenhouse gases, generated in the breakdown of cellulose.84 Termites rely primarily upon symbiotic protozoa (metamonads) and other germs such as flagellate protists in their bowels to digest the cellulose to them, allowing them to absorb the end products to their own use.8586 Gut protozoa, for example Trichonympha, in turn, rely on symbiotic bacteria embedded on their own decks to create some of the necessary intestinal enzymes.
The flagellates have been lost in Termitidae.878889 Scientists' understanding of the relationship between the termite digestive tract and the microbial endosymbionts remains rudimentary; what is true in most termite species, however, is that the employees feed the other members of the colony with substances derived from the digestion of plant material, either from the mouth or anus.54 Judging from closely related bacterial species, it is strongly presumed that the termites' and cockroach's gut microbiota derives from their dictyopteran ancestors.90.
Certain species like Gnathamitermes tubiformans have seasonal food habits. For example, they might preferentially consume Red three-awn (Aristida longiseta) during the summertime, Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) from May to August, and blue grama Bouteloua gracilis during spring, summer and autumn. Colonies of G. tubiformans consume less food in spring than they do during autumn when their feeding activity is high.91.
Various woods differ in their susceptibility to termite attack; the differences are attributed to these factors as moisture content, hardness, and resin and lignin content. In one study, the drywood termite Cryptotermes brevis strongly preferred poplar and walnut forests to other woods which were generally rejected from the termite colony.
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Some species of termite practice fungiculture. They maintain that a"garden" of specialised fungi of genus Termitomyces, that are nourished by the excrement of these insects. When the fungi are eaten, their spores pass undamaged through the intestines of their termites to complete the cycle by germinating in the new faecal pellets.9394 Molecular evidence suggests that the family Macrotermitinae developed agriculture about 31 million years back.
Originally living in the rainforest, fungus farming allowed them to colonise the African Bonuses savannah and other new environments, eventually expanding into Asia.95.
Depending on their feeding habits, termites are put into two groups: the lower termites and higher termites. The reduced termites predominately feed on timber. As wood isn't easy to digest, termites prefer to consume fungus-infected wood because it is easier to digest and the fungi are high in protein. Meanwhile, the higher termites consume a vast array of materials, including faeces, humus, grass, leaves and roots.96 The intestine in the lower termites contains many species of bacteria along with protozoa, whereas the greater termites only have a few species of bacteria with no protozoa.97.
Termites are consumed by a vast array of predators. One termite species alone, Hodotermes mossambicus, has been found in the gut contents of 65 birds and 19 mammals.98 Arthropods like ants,99100 centipedes, cockroaches, crickets, dragonflies, scorpions and spiders,101 reptiles such as lizards,102 and amphibians such as frogs103 and toads consume termites, with 2 spiders in the family Ammoxenidae being specialist termite predators.104106 Other predators include aardvarks, aardwolves, anteaters, bats, bears, bilbies, many birds, echidnas, foxes, galagos, numbats, mice and pangolins.104107108109 The have a peek at these guys aardwolf is an insectivorous mammal that primarily feeds on termites; it locates its foods by sound and also by detecting the scent secreted from the soldiers; a single aardwolf is capable of consuming thousands of termites in a single night by using its long, sticky tongue.110111 Sloth bears break open mounds to consume the nestmates, while chimpanzees have developed tools to"fish" termites from their nest.
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Among most predators, ants are the greatest enemy to termites.99100 Some ant genera are specialist predators of termites. For example, Megaponera is a strictly termite-eating (termitophagous) genus that execute raiding actions, some lasting a few hours.113114 Paltothyreus tarsatus is another termite-raiding species, together with every individual stacking as many termites as possible in its mandibles before returning home, all of the while recruiting additional nestmates to the raiding website through chemical paths.99 The Malaysian basicerotine ants Eurhopalothrix heliscata utilizes a different strategy of termite hunting by pressing themselves into tight spaces, since they hunt through rotting wood housing termite colonies.
A scout recruits 1030 employees to an area where termites are present, killing them by immobilising them using their stinger.115 Centromyrmex and Iridomyrmex colonies occasionally nest in termite mounds, and so the termites are preyed on by these ants. No evidence for any kind of relationship (other than a one) is known.116117 Other ants, including Acanthostichus, Camponotus, Crematogaster, Cylindromyrmex, Leptogenys, Odontomachus, Ophthalmopone, Pachycondyla, Rhytidoponera, Solenopsis and Wasmannia, also prey on termites.10799118 In contrast to try this site all these ant species, and despite their enormous diversity of prey, Dorylus ants rarely consume termites.119.