Wood Termites (Is a Termite an Insect ?)
Termites are a large group of insects that are existing on earth for 250 million years ago. Termites look like ants but are closely related to cockroaches.
Termites are also known as ‘silent destroyers’ as they can chew through wood, floor. Termites that live near the human population are known to create a lot of destruction. Termites are known as detritivores, around 10 percent of termites species are known as pests, as they can damage buildings and agricultural lands.
- It is studied that the total weight of all termites is more than the total weight of humans in the world. Termites have wings which they shed when they found place to build their nest.
- Termites live in colonies that consist of workers, soldiers, and reproductive males and females. All termites are social insects and raise their young ones in a group. All termites have distinctive features to perform functions, and they also differ in shape and size.
- Both the workers and soldiers are blind as they spend their whole life in the dark. All termites reside in a colony house, which is known as a mound.
- A mound is made up of mud, soil, feces, saliva, and digested weeds. Piles are stable and robust formation, one of the most giant known hills was 42 feet tall that is equal to a two-story building.
- Workers are responsible for building a mound, and soldiers are assigned to protect the hill. When a soldier finds any danger, it will kick off the wall to alert other termites; the kick will produce vibration.
- Though living in the dirt all the time, termites make efforts to groom themselves. They spend time to clean each other; the hygiene of termites is essential to prevent themselves from harmful bacteria. Termites use particular chemical scent to communicate with one another and to control each other’s behavior.
Termite Queen and Termite King:
Kings and queens termites can see as they need to find mating partners, young king and queen are known as alates. Each pair of king and queen finds a new place to start a new colony; to raise the new offspring, they break their wings.
As termites consume woods, they are not capable of digesting the lactose of the wood without the help of microorganisms. Around 100 species of bacteria are present in the guts of termites, which helps them to digest the food. The young termites do not possess organisms, so they need to eat the feces of other termites.
The Ants (How Do Ants Communicate?)
Ant is a small insect closely related to bees and wasps; ants are known to be in existence for around 100 million years ago. There are more than 10,000 known species of ants living in the world. Ant looks much like a termite, and the two are often confused, but ants have a narrow waist between their thorax and abdomen, which termites do not possess.
- The body of an ant is covered with a hard shield known as an exoskeleton. Most of the species of ants have either red or black color, like other insects ants, have six legs, large head with compound eyes, powerful jaws, and elbowed antennae.
- Ants are absurdly strong; the muscles of ants have a greater cross-sectional area concerning their body size, which enables them to create more force.
- Ants do not have lungs, so they breathe in oxygen through the spiracles located on the sides of their body. Unlike other pests, ants do not have ears, so they hear through the vibrations.
- Ants also have two stomachs, one for consuming food for themselves. The other stomach acts as a storage for other ants. They store food into their stomach to share food with other ants.
- Ants are social insects that live in colonies known as formicary; there are three types of adults living in the territory- queen, male ant, and female ant.
The Queen Ant and King Ant:
Queen ants are the giant ants in the colony. They have wings to fly, and only queen ants lay eggs. Female ants are smaller than queen ants; they work as a worker. The primary duty of female ants is to care for the eggs, construct the nest, and protect it. Male ants are quite smaller than female ants and are developed from unfertilized eggs. Males also have wings, but they can only mate with the queen ants.
Difference Between Ants and Termites:
|Scientific name-||Ant scientific name- The scientific name of the ant is Formicidae.||Termite scientific name-The scientific name of the termite is Isoptera.|
Ants are habitat to live in all continents except Antarctica; in colder regions, ants become inactive. Ants can live in the underground, in mounds, in wood structures.
Termites can be found all over the world except Antarctica; the species can be found in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and china.
|Diet-||Ants are omnivorous, they feed on small insects, dead invertebrates, and sap of plants, eggs, fruits and milk of aphids.||Termites mainly feeds on dead plant material and cellulose, in the form of wood, soil or animal dung.|
|Life cycle-||Ant lifecycle- The lifecycle of an ant includes four stages-|
Egg- the eggs of ants are oval and are relatively tiny.
Larva- the larva is born blind and has no legs, they feed on the ejected food by the adults. The worm sheds their skin many times as they increase in size.
Pupa- after a specific size, the larva spins himself around with a silk-like cocoon; during this period, the body changes into an adult.
Adult- The pupa emerges into adulthood.
|Termite lifecycle- The lifecycle of a termite can be described as-|
The queen termite lay the eggs.
The egg will hatch into young larva.
The larva will molt up three times before reaching maturity.
|Species-||Species of Ants- Some common species of ants are-|
Odorous house ants
Red imported fire ants
|Species of termites- Common species of termites-|
Damp wood termites
Dry wood termites
|Lifespan-||A Female queen ant can live between 15 to 20 years.||The average lifespan of a queen termite is ten years, whereas workers and soldiers termites can live for 1 to 2 years.|
Termites vs Ants:
It’s hard to estimate the result between the fight of ants and termites. Termites are more significant than ants but are less aggressive; on the other hand, ants are smaller but are highly dynamic than termites. Termites are vegetarian, and ants are known to be the predators of termites. Termites are essential decomposers for the environment as they break down the tough plant fibers and recycle the dead plants into the new soil. Termites are good source of food as they provide vitamin, minerals, fats and necessary minerals, so they contain high social and economic value.
Also read about Tarsiers Monkey.