Where Can The Largest Termite Mounds Be Found?
Termites may not be the most interesting animals as far as most people are concerned, but termite mounds have been fascinating people for centuries. Termite mounds cannot be found in North America, but they are numerous in certain regions of South America. However, the most breathtaking termite mounds can be found in both Africa and Australia. The termites that build the tallest mounds can be found in Australia. In addition to the enormous termite mounds that exist in Australia, several other unique termite nests can be found on the continent.
Some of the largest termite mounds that exist today were built by spinifex termites (Nasutitermes triodiae). These mounds can contain millions of individual termites. The largest mounds built by spinifex termites can be found in Australia’s northern territory. These mounds can reach heights in excess of six meters. The mounds built by these termites are often referred to as “bulbous mounds”. When spinifex termite colonies grow larger, workers will build new additions onto their nests. These new additions resemble bulbous shapes or “buds”. These mounds can be found on the edges of floodplains. Spinifex termites are classified as harvester termites since they transport freshly grown grass back to their nesting mounds. These termites consume the grass within the safety of their mounds after transporting the grass through intricate underground tunnel systems.
Tree-piping termites may not build the tallest and/or the most majestic looking mounds in the world, but their nest-building behavior is relatively unusual. These termites construct mounds at the base of trees, preferably eucalyptus trees. These termites find access to these trees through underground tunnels. The soldiers are unique for secreting wood-solvent chemicals. These chemicals are used to create hollow tubes within tree trunks and branches. Surprisingly, the trees do not die after being invaded with tree-piping termites. However, these termites are still unpopular with Australia’s timber industry since a seemingly healthy tree could later show signs of internal damage caused by these termites.
If you traveled to Australia or Africa would you be interested in visiting a site containing numerous cathedral-like termite mounds?