There appear to be at least three subspecies in M. gilvus with one species typically having a larger size nest (matured) mount. In my personal encounters, based on just external macro appearances of the termites I have come across, I noted at least two, possibly three. There are two distinct nuptial swarm pattern of Macrotermes gilvus.
The most common is after a day of relatively heavy to heavy rain sometime soon after the beginning of the biannual main rainy season. The context of this is more the duration but also on the volume of rain. The swarming take place after it is dark commonly a few hours after it is completely dark. Very large swarms are released often timed while it is still raining lightly.
A second less common nuptial swarming type of what is probably a sub species is similar to that of Macroteremes malaccensis and Macrotermes carbonarius. All these are early evening swarmers swarming just as dusk begins to fall before darkness sets in. Swarming always invariably take place on a dry non rainy day. Also typical of these swarms the numbers of alates released are much smaller. Though these three species all release alates swarms during the late evening hours at last light, they swarms are rarely ever on the same evenings.
Though they appeared to have a preference for medium soft wood Macrotermes gilvus also takes dry leaves and other dry vegetation. Tree bark (of trunks and branches) are also preferred to the underlying wood by one of the subspecies. In areas where both fallen tree branches and trunk as well as leaves are found in abundance the nest of one subspecies may reached to over five feet high with a similar diameter.
Even most termites soldiers and workers do not have eyes (or so called functional eyes) they are not necessarily totally blind. Despite their lack of eyes they are able to sense light. It could be that they are ultra sensitive to temperature but several non definitive experiments I conducted do not appear to support this.
Retreating Macrotermes gilvus foraging party.
Macrotermes gilvus major soldiers.
A group of Macrotermes gilvus workers attacking a leaf.
The gyne or queen of Macrotermes gilvus.
Subfamily – Macrotermitinae 62955
Genus – Macrotermes 46572
Species – gilvus
Last Updated: 2015 11 07
First Posted: 2009 10 22
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