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As of 2013, roughly 3,106 living and fossil termite species have been recognised, categorized in 12 households. The infraorder Isoptera is divided into the following clade and family groups, showing the subfamilies in their respective classification:26



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Termites are found on all continents except Antarctica. The diversity of termite species is low in North America and Europe (10 species known in Europe and 50 in North America), but is high in South America, in which over 400 species have been known.34 Of the 3,000 termite species currently classified, 1,000 are found in Africa, where mounds are extremely abundant in certain regions.

Within China, termite species have been limited to moderate tropical and subtropical habitats south of the Yangtze River.34 In Australia, all environmental groups of termites (dampwood, drywood, subterranean) are endemic to the country, with over 360 categorized species.34.



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As a result of their soft cuticles, termites do not inhabit cool or cold habitats.36 There are three environmental forms of termites: dampwood, drywood and subterranean. Dampwood termites are found only in coniferous forests, and drywood termites are found in hardwood forests; subterranean termites live in widely diverse regions.34 One species in the drywood category is the West Indian drywood termite (Cryptotermes brevis), which can be an invasive species in Australia.37.

Termites are generally small, measuring between 4 to 15 millimetres (0.16 to 0.59 in) in length.34 The biggest of all extant termites are the queens of those species Macrotermes bellicosus, measuring up to over 10 centimetres (4 in) in length.38 Another giant termite, the extinct Gyatermes styriensis, flourished in Austria during the Miocene and had a wingspan of 76 millimetres (3.0 in) and a body length of 25 millimetres (0.98 in).39note 1. )



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Most worker and soldier termites are blind as they do not own a pair of eyes. But some species, like Hodotermes mossambicus, haveCompound eyes that they utilize for orientation and to distinguish sunlight from moonlight.40 The alates (winged males and females) have eyes along with lateral ocelli.

Termite antennae have a number of functions like the sensing of taste, touch, odours (including pheromones), heat and vibration. The three basic segments of a termite antenna include a scape, a pedicel (usually shorter than the scape), and the flagellum (all segments beyond the scape and pedicel). The mouth parts contain a maxillae, a labium, and a set of mandibles.



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Consistent with all insects, the anatomy of this termite thorax consists of 3 segments: the prothorax, the mesothorax and the metathorax. Each segment contains a pair of legs. On alates, the wings are at the mesothorax and metathorax. The mesothorax and metathorax have well-developed exoskeletal plates; the prothorax has smaller plates. .

Termites have a ten-segmented abdomen using two plates, the tergites and the sternites. The tenth abdominal segment has a pair of short cerci.45 You can find ten tergites, of which nine are wide and one is elongated. The reproductive organs are similar to people in cockroaches but are more simplified. By way of example, the intromittent organ is not present in penile alates, and the sperm is immotile or aflagellate.

Unlike in other termites, Mastotermitidae females possess an ovipositor, a characteristic strikingly similar to this in female cockroaches.48.



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The non-reproductive castes of termites are wingless and rely exclusively on their six legs for locomotion. The alates fly only to get a brief amount of time, and therefore they also rely on their own legs. The appearance of the legs is similar in each and every caste, but the soldiers have bigger and thicker legs.

The number of tibial spurs on an individual's leg varies. Some species of termite visit this site right here have an arolium, found between the claws, which can be present in species that scale on smooth surfaces but is absent in many termites.49.

Unlike in ants, click to find out more the hind-wings and fore-wings are of equivalent length.2 the majority of the time, the alates are poor stocks; their technique would be to launch themselves in the atmosphere and fly in a random direction. Studies show that in comparison to larger termites, smaller termites cannot fly long distances. When a termite is in flight, its wings remain at a right angle, and when the termite is at rest, its wings remain parallel to the body.51.

Caste system of termites A King B Queen C Secondary queen D Tertiary queen E Soldiers F Worker



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Worker termites undertake the maximum labour within the colony, being responsible for click here for info foraging, food storage, and brood and nest maintenance.53 Employees are tasked with the digestion of cellulose in food and are thus the most likely caste to be found in infested timber. The process of worker termites feeding different nestmates is popularly known as trophallaxis.

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