Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Insects and Spiders » Termites: Isoptera - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Termites And People, Conservation Status, Eastern Subterranean Termite (reticulitermes Flavipes): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT

Termites: Isoptera - Diet

food help digest wood

Although the best-known termites eat dead wood, others eat a wide variety of foods, including small bits of decomposed, or disintegrated, plants; leaf litter; dead grass; dung, or the waste material of animals; funguses, and lichens, or certain plantlike organisms that live together, as one. Some of these termite species are considered pests when their food-gathering activities include crops, such as corn.

Unable to digest plant materials on their own, wood-eating and plant-feeding termites must rely on tiny organisms in their stomachs to help them digest their food. This organism, a protozoan (proh-toh-ZOH-uhn), whose body is made up of only one cell, and the termite depend on each other for food. Some termites lack these microscopic partners and instead must grow their own fungus for food, or else they have special chambers in their stomachs populated with different kinds of bacteria, another type of tiny single-celled organism, that help with digestion.

Termites: Isoptera - Behavior And Reproduction [next] [back] Termites: Isoptera - Physical Characteristics

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