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Termites leaving the mounds | by jeans_Photos
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Termites leaving the mounds

We had had a few mm of rain after a long break.

We found termite mounds up to 1 mx1 m with termites exiting and flying away. Soldier termites had opened small (variable sized) holes on the termite mounds and stood in the holes testing the air with their mandibles in the air, then came out and ran around near the hole. After a while, winged termites pushed out through the soldiers which seemed to check it. The winged termites climbed to a high point and flew off, sometimes landing a few metres from the mound.


Dusky wood swallows flew in and sat on the mounds waiting for the winged termites. The soldiers waved their antennae but apparently were not eaten by the birds. I did see a soldier termite shaking its head. I think that is when they are bringing the toxic substance forward onto their mandibles for protection. Other birds came in and helped the wood swallows pick the termites off the ground.


Termites maybe: Drepanotemes sp


Photos: Jean


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Taken on June 14, 2017