Encrusting Termite

a colony of termites, Termitidae, cooperates to consume a wooden fence post in Eldoret, Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed in Eldoret, Kenya, January 2012. I am not certain that these are true encrusting termites or that family name of this species is correct.

termites consuming a wood fence post, Eldoret, Kenya © Michael Plagens

The soldiers and workers are easy to tell apart in the photo. The soldiers have greatly enlarged heads to accommodate the huge muscles that operate the mandibles. The sharp tips can be shut with incredible force, slicing open the skin of an attacking animal. The termites build a mud-like shelter over the portion of wood that they are working; this protects themselves from predators, the sun and especially the dry air.

Termitidae -- Termite Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens. Page created 07 April 2012