Termite pictures – Odontotermes longignathus

The Odontotermes genus is one of the Macrotermitinae and there are many species of Odontotermes, which are either subterranean or mound building. The Odontotermes range from Africa to Asia. They are so named from a small characteristic “tooth” which appears as a crenulation on the soldier’s left mandible. In some species, this “tooth” is rather prominent, but in other species quite obscure, only visible when the soldier opens its mandibles.

A particular species, Odontotermes longignathus, happens to be one of the species of termites I used to collect many years ago. A subterranean species, Odontotermes longignathus is also one of the largest Odontotermes around, the soldier being roughly 12 mm in length, from the mandibles to the rear of the abdomen.

Odontotermes longignathus consumes wood left in the open and favors dead tree stumps or fallen branches and are quite common in urban fringes, but surprisingly quite rare in forested areas. As a whole, Odontotermes are very important decomposers of wood in tropical forests and there are many species in existence.

Odontotermes longignathus termites

(Above) Odontotermes longignathus

Odontotermes longignathus termites

(Above) Odontotermes longignathus.

Worker termite of Odontotermes longignathus

(Above) The worker termite of Odontotermes longignathus close up.

Odontotermes longignathus soldier

(Above) Note the small "tooth" on the left mandible of the soldier.

Soldier termite of Odontotermes longignathus

(Above) The soldier termite of Odontotermes longignathus is monomorphic - There is only one size of soldier. They secrete a sticky brown liquid when biting which probably serves to deter ants.

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