I have noted that among all those termites (that I have encountered) with slashing andor clasping mandibles the left mandible tip overlay over the right. And among the flicking mandible termites the left mandible overlay below the right when the mandibles are not deployed but deployed with the right crossing over the top of the left. Of course not all termites (i.e. the more primitive species) with slashing andor clasping mandibles have their left mandible tip overlay the right, species (not from this location, example: Hodotermes) may have the left on top instead. This might suggest that termites with these two mandibles design types split in the genetic lineage before the greater species diversification among these two lineage began. Doing a back ward trace might reveal those species that separated from these two lineage in the evolutionary tree.
Termites that do not have a soldier caste deploy other strategies of nest defense. One such species deploy the poison dung defense. The soldierless termite workers release a drop of opaque liquid from its abdomen that repulse and kills ants. The workers themselves are also poisonous when eaten, killing any ant that eats it.
First Posted: 2011 07 02
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