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Australian Wildlife

  Giant Northern Termite (Mastotermes darwiniensis)





Giant Northern Termite | Mastotermes darwiniensis photo
Giant Northern Termite

Image by ARS Image Gallery - License: Public Domain.    (view image details)



INSECT FACTS

Identification
The Giant Northern Termite as the name indicates is a large termite. Soldiers have round reddish brown heads with short stout mandibles with long teeth at the tips. The right mandible has two well-defined teeth but the left mandible has only one well defined tooth.

Size
The alates are about 35mm with 50mm wingspan. Soldiers are 11mm 13mm long. Workers are 10mm - 11.5mm long.

Habitat
trunks and root crowns of trees and stumps

Food
cellulose from wood

Breeding
Giant Northern Termites build their nest underground or in the trunks and root crowns of trees and stumps. When the colony is mature with over 100,000 individuals, they separate to form other nests over a wide area. These new nests can exist independently without contact with the original nest.

Range
found in tropical Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia mainly north of the tropic of Capricorn.

Notes
Mastotermes darwiniensis is one of the most destructive termite species in the world. It can cause severe damage to buildings, fence posts, poles and other timber structures. It is also an agricultural pest that can kill living trees and shrubs by ring-barking them. It damages fruit, vegetable crops, sugarcane, and other plant and animal products.



Classification
Class:Insecta
Order:Isoptera
Family:Mastotermitidae
Genus:Mastotermes
Species:darwiniensis
Common Name:Giant Northern Termite