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Termites - Caste System, Reproductives, Workers, Soldiers, The Mature Colony

species families complex australia

Termites are slender, social insects, ranging in size from 0.007-0.072 in (2-22 mm) long. The reproductive members of the species have wing spans of 0.03-0.3 in (10-90 mm). Inhabiting nests of their own construction, they live in permanent and often highly developed communities. While termites thrive in warm, humid environments, some species have also adapted to open savannas and temperate zones. They are most commonly found in the tropical parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

Termites belong to the order Isoptera, which includes seven families of termites, containing about 200 genera and about 2,300 species. The families are: (1) the Mastotermitidae, (2) the Kalotermitidae, (3) the Termopsidae, (4) the Hodotermitidae, (5) the Rhinotermitidae, (6) the Serritermitidae, and (7) the Termitidae. The first five families are referred to as the lower termites, while the last two are known as the higher termites.

The classification into lower and higher termites refers to the termites' level of evolution, both in terms of behavior and anatomy. The higher termites have a more complex and developed social structure and build a more complex and varied nest. The most advanced nests start below the ground and form a mound above. A termite nest in Australia measured almost 20 ft (6.66 m) high and 98 ft (33 m) around. Three-quarters of all species of termites belong to the higher termite groups.

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