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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Smelly Termites Schedorhinotermes

Schedorhinotermes is among a few of pest termites species. Not so usual among termites this genus has a strong pungent replusive smell which doesn't seem to affect ants and these termites are readily taken by them. I suspect the smell is for the benefit of lizards, frogs and birds, maybe even small rodents like squirrel, shrew and mice since the smell certainly is unpleasant to my nose. Of course Schedorhinotermes is not the only termite that gives off an unpleasant repellent odor. Many (but not all) Odontotermes species including Hypotermes species also give off an unpleasant smell. 

Even in some Scherdorhinoterms species this pungent smell is much milder and not very obvious. Also characteristic of such species is the absence (or near absence) of a major soldier caste. In such species (probably seeded by some environmental factors and not a mutation of things going horribly wrong) a diminished encounter with predators might have contributed to from a decrease in numbers to the absence of the major soldier expression.

The minor soldier, major soldier and worker of Schedorhinotermes. This is the typical morphology in this genus Schedorhinotermes but in some species the major soldier caste is absent.

Schedorhinotermes major and minor soldiers with a worker.

The major soldier of Schedorhinotermes.

Minor soldier of Schedorhinotermes with a woker.

Some species of Schedorhinotermes do not have a major soldier caste. The distinctive pungent smell is also quite mild in such species.

Two soldier of a Schedorhinotermes species that do not have the major soldier caste.

Schedorhinotermes sp2.

Schedorhinotermes termites. Major soldiers of this species measured at 7 millimeters and is large the first species  posted here. The head capsule of the soldiers also tapers (narrows) from posterior to anterior (back to front).
Schedorhinotermes termites

Workers and soldiers of Schedorhinotermes sp.
Workers and major soldiers of Schedorhinotermes sp.

Minor soldier of Schedorhinotermes.
Minor soldier of Schedorhinotermes sp.

Schedorhinotermes sp3.

 Major soldiers of this species is 9mm (TL).

Schedorhinotermes sp4.

Schedorhinotermes sp5.


The king and queen of Schedorhinotermes. The reproductive pair. The king is the darker.

The queen with her first clutch of eggs.

Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Arthropoda
Class - Insecta
Subclass - Pterygota
Infraclass - Neoptera
Superorder - Dictyoptera
Order - Isoptera 7499
Family - Rhinotermitidæ
Genus - Schedorhinotermes

Last Updated: 2014 10 23
First Posted:2009 10 19
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