In What Region Of The World Are Termites Most Abundant?
Termites are some of the oldest insects on record, and there are over one thousand different species distributed around the world. Although the United States may seem like a hotspot for termite activity, it is the tropical regions of the world that host the greatest diversity of termite life. More specifically, the tropical regions of Africa. Termites are certainly hated insect pests here in the states, but in Africa termites are tremendously important to the tropical ecosystem.
In Africa, termites are the predominant decomposers of dead plant life. It is estimated that one third of dead tropical plant life is decomposed by termite activity. This mass-cleanup of dead plant life paves the way for the growth of further vegetation. Some species of African termites are soil dwelling; while others dwell within wood, or build large nesting mounds. There are three main families of termites that inhabit the tropical rainforest of Africa, and you may be familiar with some of them. These termites include drywood termites dampwood termites and higher termites.
Drywood termites are distributed all over the world, but they are among the rarest of the termites living in African rainforests. This is because they are often killed by higher termites. Dampwood termites, just like in America, feed on damp and partially decayed wood. The third group, the higher termites, account for seventy five percent of all termites living in African rainforests. The family of higher termites include several subfamilies, such as soil-eating termites and the fungus growing termites. The fungus growing termites do eat dead plant life, but they prefer fungus that grows on termite feces. The fungus breaks down the feces so that these fungal termites are able to digest the feces. The third group of termites, Nasutitermitinae, are the most abundant. These termites do most of the plant eating, but this group also contains soil eating termites. These particular termites are even more abundant in many Asian countries. There probably won’t be any real estate development in or around these rainforests anytime soon.
Do you think that removing forestland for housing will contribute to mass termite infestations in such housing?