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General Links for Termite Information

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#1 Offline Nare - Posted October 21 2018 - 11:24 AM


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Feel free to post your own links here, be sure to include a brief description. Photos and graphics are also welcome.


Guide to Keeping Subterranean Termites


Basic guide for keeping subterranean termites, one of the more common types of termite. Includes setup advice and troubleshooting.


List of Termite Rearing Methods


General list of methods for keeping different types and species of termites.


Termite Classification


Chart exploring termite taxonomy - termite taxonomy in general is somewhat messy, this may be inaccurate in a matter of years.


Map of Termite Distribution


Still under construction, lists acknowledged termite species on a country basis - not the most accurate, but a good start for further research.


Canadian and American Termite General Information



Pest control companies are often a good source for habitat information on termites. These sites contain some general information on the most common species in Canada and America.

Keeping Termites Alive in the Laboratory


Thread about keeping termites alive in artificial setups, does include some interesting tips and setups.


Subterranean Termites




Photos and information about subterranean termites in Canada and America. Contain some interesting photos as well as bits of information.


Dr. Don's Termite Page


A large resource full of termite information. Definitely worth a look.


Termites in the University of Florida Collection


The motherlode of soldier pictures, great for IDing it would seem. Parts of it are incomplete, but it has lot of valuable specimens.


Simple Termite Farm Guide


Step by step guide for making simple, nice looking termite displays with petri dishes.


Constantino's Termite Catalog

Edited by Nare, May 7 2020 - 12:43 PM.

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#2 Offline Nare - Posted October 21 2018 - 11:32 AM


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Subterranean Termite Lifecycle





Graphic outlining the general lifecycle of subterranean termites (Rhinotermitidae). Does not apply for all species, inquire with an expert for more.


General Taxonomical Tree for Termites



General taxonomical tree for termites displaying lineages with pictures of soldiers. In termites, soldiers are the best member for ID'ing a species.


Sexing Termite Alates



Termite alates can be sexed by counting the number of plates on the bottom of their abdomens, as seen. Be careful with your termites when sexing - they're delicate creatures.


Rough Termite Picture ID Key







Rough graphics for the appearances of several different types of termite soldiers.


Prestwich's Termite Soldier Defense Classifications



General explanation of the types of termite soldiers that exist.

Edited by Nare, January 23 2021 - 10:40 PM.

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#3 Offline Nare - Posted December 1 2018 - 3:16 PM


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On Termite Taxonomy
Termites can be roughly categorized into three categories: one piece nesters (includes dampwoods and drywoods), subterranean and foraging termites. The first group nests in their food source, the second nest in the ground and may or may not have a central nest, the third usually category makes  a central nest and forages above ground
Termites are also divided into numerous families while ants only have one
The first distinction is between the family Termitidae (so called higher termites) and the rest (so called lower termites). Termitidae lack the famed gut protists termites are known for and also constitute most of the termite biodiversity, they’re restricted to the warmer regions of the world
Then you have the very primitive termites (so called basal clades/families) which are Archotermopsidae (aka Termopsidae), Stolotermitidae, Kalotermitidae, Mastotermitidae, and Hodotermitidae.
Mastotermitidae are oddities and really old so we’ll ignore those
Archotermopsidae contains the dampwoods, related to the Stolotermitidae (also dampwoods).
Kalotermitidae contains drywoods and dampwoods
Hodotermitidae are the harvester termites.
Aside from Hodotermitidae which harvests grass in the open the others are one piece nesters
Higher up the ladder we reach Rhinotermitidae and Serritermitidae (the latter is another oddity so it shall be ignored).
Rhinotermitidae contains dampwoods (although it’s like one genus), but the vast majority are subterranean
Termitidae is further split into about a dozen subfamilies (much like ants) but the 5 main ones of note are
Macrotermitinae: fungus growers
Apicotermitinae: soldierless termites
Syntermitinae: mandibular nasutes
Nasutitermitinae: nasute termites
Termitinae: basically everything else and funky mandibles
Termitidae are often classified via a gradient due to how diverse their diets tend to be, and frankly speaking cover all three categories, their diet includes anything from lichen on the trees, down to other termite mounds, wood, leaf litter, humus and straight up soil.

On Macroterminae Fungus

All Macrotermes so far to date (except M. bellicosus) transmit their spores horizontally via mushrooms that sprout from the termite mound. Which means workers must collect them from their natural environment. The fungus combs are constantly attempting to sprout mushrooms (the little white buds you see on online pics). These however often never grow into mushrooms since the workers will eat them. They are still packed with asexual spores and as Macrotermes do, the asexual spores are pooped back onto the fungus. The constant eating and repooping also allows a gradual take over of one fungul strain (usually the most dominant one in the area at the expense of rarer strains) and allows the termites to maintain a monoculture, thereby reducing competition between unrelated fungal strains. Also means someone can theoretically obtain Termitomyces spores without the mushrooms using just the fungus.

Also termite fungus lives in a really carbon dioxide rich environment, the carbon dioxide rich environment is also what makes invasion from other fungi so hard. Homeostasis of the nest is technically created by the fungi, since their breakdown of material is what produces most of the heat and CO2 in the mound which allows for that fancy air circulation thing to happen. So when the fungi in a wild termite mound starts dying it also jeopardizes the nest rather than just vice versa.


On Termite Taxonomy Simplified

"“Lower” termites harbour the basal families Mastotermitidae, Archotermopsidae, Stolotermitidae, Hodotermitidae, Kalotermitidae, Stylotermitidae, Serritermitidae and Rhinotermitidae, while “higher” termites correspond to the family Termitidae."

Edited by Nare, April 15 2019 - 5:41 PM.

#4 Offline LC3 - Posted December 8 2018 - 7:59 PM


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Really simplified (probably way too broad) termite developmental pathway guides. (Developmental pathways in termites are really complex and varry a ton from species to species, these graphs just include a general trend in the selected groups and does not make an attempt to distinguish instars, sex (unless necessary), stages and all castes, if any lineage is at a point of irreversibility but still not a different caste it will be included twice (i.e larva and larva). That being said it is difficult to pinpoint where the larvae caste ends and worker caste starts).


Some simplified ant developmental pathways are also included just as a comparison.



Solid arrow = Molt

Dotted arrow = Transition

Bolded box = Reproductive

Purple = Adult

Yellow = Egg


Termite exclusive:

Red arrow = Regressive molt

Green = Neotenic

Blue = Reproduction related

Grey = Caste that takes on role of worker

Orange = Soldier lineage


Ant exclusive:

Light Red = Larva 

Red = Pupae




6pyKHk75bzpSHmTwnq2KLJZaRFgsZVWvCXlrUxsJ*Adultoid only found in Mastotermes darwiniensis




aCqj5ZIVE3YAAAAASUVORK5CYII.png*Parthogenesis only occurs in Glyptotermes nakajimae




zRUyAu6Q5MkiABPyJAAWjP3mTfSEBCwicunhTTl2*Only occurs in a select few species of Reticulitermes and Psammotermes



7uHbrARdqepAxmyYBigrGAAlYhIBDVFjEXNOayd0*Only occurs in a select few species and/or subfamilies


B5qtO7B6gmHGAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC.png?width=3  Gyne = queen, ergatoid, brachypterous and dichthadiiform queen

4Twyf5YFpUuU8ejX9wSCoQo721USCNrOZc4bbHcI  Probably got something wrong here.

Edited by LC3, December 8 2018 - 8:07 PM.

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#5 Offline Nare - Posted December 17 2018 - 7:54 PM


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Reticulitermes Lifecycle
These are the most accurate graphics I've found for Reticulitermes, they were from a paper that I don't have on me at the moment. The graphic and the illustration are the same, one has labels, the other has drawings. Helpful for identifying which stage an individual is at. I believe the graphic includes instars, which is why a straight path will have multiple nodes on it.
L = Larva
W = Worker
PS = Presoldier
S = Soldier
E = Ergatoid neotonic / Apterous neotonic ("Tertiary" reproductive)
N = Nymph
P = Pseudergate (Regressive molt, but retains capability to become a reproductive)
NS = Short-winged nymph
BN = Brachypterous neotonic ("Secondary" reproductive)
NL = Long-winged nymph
Imago is another name for adult ("Primary" reproductive)

EDIT: Here's the paper:
Lainé, L., & Wright, D. (2003). The life cycle of Reticulitermes spp. (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae): What do we know? Bulletin of Entomological Research, 93(4), 267-278. doi:10.1079/BER2003238

Edited by Nare, January 23 2021 - 10:43 PM.

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