Do You Know The Differences Between Ants and Termites?
Differences Between Ants and Termites
Ants and Termites
Strictly social and laborious, these minute creatures made up a significant portion of the biomass of many habitats. A healthy colony of either ants or termites is able to consume the same amount of food as a large antelope does in a year. Each individual is highly dependent to the survival of others and is unable to survive alone. A colony functions as one single “super-organism” where each individual is vital to the survival of the whole colony.
Contradict to popular beliefs, ants and termite are not closely related but instead come from a very different evolutionary background.
Ants being related to wasps, have a very distinctive 3 segmented body and very much retained the ability to sting just like a wasps. Ants live in colony consist of individuals with distinctive roles. Workers which make up of the most of the colony are in charge of foraging, building, repairing, tending the young and feeding the queen and soldiers. Soldiers on the other hand, have huge mandibles which they use to defend the workers and nest. The queen is the heart of the colony and specialized in laying eggs. There are also winged females and male that will take off to the air during humid days to mate with individuals from other colony. Males die shortly after mating while females will store the sperms within their body shed their wings and burrow into the ground to start of a new colony. Queen ant remains mobile for their whole life which can stretch up to 30 years.
Termites, like all other insects, have body with three segments as well but not as distinguishable as in the ants. Termites are closely related to cockroaches and crickets and do not have the ability to sting although soldiers do have a strong mandibles to defend themselves. Colony structures are similar as in the ants with workers, soldiers, queen and winged males and females doing similar task as in ants. Termite queen however is significantly different than ant queen. After mating and hand raising the first few broods of workers, the queen termite will dedicate itself to reproduction and develops into a swollen egg laying machine. From now on, the queen’s abdomen will be so swollen that it takes away its ability to move. The queen will now reside in a fortified chamber within the hive and fully dependent to its worker to feed and clean her while she produces up to 30000 eggs a day. Residing with her is her mate who stays closely to her and mates with her continuously. This is different than the male of ants which die soon after mating. The royal couple will continue to reign for up to 40 years.
Where to find them
They are literally found everywhere although most species build their nest underground. Workers are extremely common and can be seen foraging everywhere around the clock.
Termites are more elusive as they are mostly active underground due to their intolerance to heat. However, they build massive structures known to us as termites mount which serves as a cooling chimney for their underground colony. They also construct mud tunnel on their foraging pathway which can be observed easily on rotting wood in forested areas.