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Cryptotermes secundus termites

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The drywood termites Cryptotermes secundus form small colonies and have few workers. They can 'eavesdrop' on their more aggressive relatives Coptotermes acinaciformis.

Both species eat sound dry wood and can co-exist in the same tree but, while drywood termite colonies contain only about 200 individuals and are confined to one tree, colonies of Coptotermes – Australia’s dominant wood-eating termite – contain around a million individuals, including thousands of aggressive soldiers, and can forage on up to 20 trees simultaneously.

According to CSIRO Entomology’s Dr Theo Evans "we already knew that chewing termites generate vibrations which they use to determine wood size and quality, so it seemed possible that one species could detect another using these vibrations.” His research team found that Cryptotermes could use vibration signals to distinguish between their own and Coptotermes individuals. They would even respond to recorded

Photographer : Patrick Gleeson on August 03 2009.

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<table style="border:1px solid;padding:2px; width:310px;" ><tr><td><a href="https://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/image/10790/"><img src="https://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/images/embed/300_0_BE11733.jpg" width="300" alt="Cryptotermes secundus termites" style="margin: 0 0 5px 0; border: 0px;"></a><br/><a href="https://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/image/10790/">Cryptotermes secundus termites</a><br />by CSIRO</td></tr></table>
Cryptotermes secundus termites
Cryptotermes secundus termites
by CSIRO

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