RESOURCES: Enter the Termitarium

Science  24 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5645, pp. 541a
DOI: 10.1126/science.302.5645.541a

Termites do more than just munch through beams and floor joists. The tiny, tender insects mulch hard-to-digest plant matter and churn the soil. In some habitats, termites may outnumber vertebrate herbivores and collectively outweigh and outeat them.

For a rundown on the taxonomy of these key ecological players, bore into this sprawling site from termitologist Timothy Myles of the University of Toronto in Canada. To simplify identification, the site provides photos for most of the world's termite genera and nearly all the species from North and South America. The Brazilian Inquilinitermes soldier, for instance, battles interlopers with its forcepslike jaws. There's also a key to North American species, and Myles has tucked in plenty of basic data on termite biology and control.

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