Classification

Isoptera is represented by six families: five families compromise the lower termites, and one the higher termites. The distinction between lower and higher is based primarily on their evolutionary development and social behavior, but also on the composition of the gut microflora. Lower termites have symbiotic bacteria and protozoa in their gut, which assist in the breakdown ofcellulose food material. In higher termites, bacteria are absent and only protozoa and enzymes appear to be involved in food digestion. There are approximately 2000 species of termites: about 400 species are considered lower termites, and 1600 are higher. About 100 termite species are considered pests ofstructures or wood in use around the world. Lower termites include:

1. Mastotermitidae. There is a single species Mastotermes dar-winiensis, which occurs in northern Australia in subterranean nests.

2. Kalotermitidae. These occur as small colonies in dry wood and are widespread in the tropics and subtropics; common genera include Cryptotermes, Kalotermes, and Marginitermes.

3. Termopsidae. These occur in wood which has a high moisture content and is decayed by fungi. They occur in tropical and temperate regions; common genera are Stolotermes and Porotermes in the southern hemisphere.

4. Hodotermitidae. These harvester termites feed on plant litter. They occur in dry regions of Africa, Middle East, Australia, and India; common genera are Hodotermes, Micro-hodotermes, and Anacanthotermes.

5. Rhinotermitidae. These subterranean termites eat wood, and have a highly developed soldier caste. They occur throughout the world, and common genera include Cop-totermes, Reticulitermes, Heterotermes, and Schedorhinotermes.

The category ofhigher termites is represented by the Termiti-dae. This is the largestfamily oftermites; itincludes species that feed on rotten wood and drywood, and species that build nests on trees and poles, and those that construct large mounds. Common genera in this family are Macrotermes, Microtermes, and Nasutitermes.

The categories of drywood, dampwood, and subterranean can be used to classify the economically important genera of termites. Drywood termite nests are notin contactwith the soil and they are dependent on wood moisture to provide suitable conditions for the colony. Distribution of these termites, such as Cryptotermes and Kalotermes, is greatly influenced by ambient temperature and humidity. They are commonly found in coastal regions, and they infest the upper parts of buildings. Their presence may be unnoticed because their feeding usually leaves a thin veneer of wood at the surface. However, their rounded fecal pellets are ejected from the galleries from small, round holes, and piles of these pellets are the only sign ofinfestation. Dampwood termites initially infestwetand decayed wood, but their feeding can extend to sound wood. Subterranean termites commonly occur in tropical regions, especially rain forests. However, some species occur in temperate regions ofEurope,

North and South America, southern Africa, Australia, and parts of Asia. Their colonies are established in soil or in wood buried in soil, but they also forage above ground. Secondary nests constructed above ground are connected to the primary nest in the soil by shelter tubes. Wood attacked by these termites usually has a thin surface veneer and, during later stages of infestation, the wood below the surface is replaced with soil, fecal matter, and undigested wood, which is molded into a reinforcing material called carton.

Oplan Termites

Oplan Termites

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