Daily Bug Facts 9November 14, 2017
Eastern Subterranean Termite
The Eastern Subterranean Termite are some of the most fascinating insects. Although they are seen as pest for feeding on wood in homes and buildings, they are a crucial part of the ecosystem.
Termites are classified into workers, soldiers, and reproductive classes. Whats even more interesting is the fact that any termite at any time can change to different classes, unless it hits a terminal instar, meaning it can no longer revert back to a previous state or evolve any further. This is one of the very few organisms on our planet that have this amazing ability.
Other than the interesting physical changes these termines display or change, they are able to eat and help in the decomposition of wood. This is vital in the breakdown of Cellulose! We can not do this, many organisms can't, what makes this incredible is that the termites actually feed on the wood and use it as a main food source. The best part is that they can't digest the cellulose ether!
So how do the termites gain nutrients from the Cellulose? Bacteria in the stomach of the termites actually digest and break down the cellulose for the termites to absorb as nutrients. This is a mutual relationships. The termites find and eat the wood, the bacteria then can break it down!