Termite pictures – Macrotermes gilvus

Macrotermes gilvus (Macrotimitinae) is the most common mound building termite throughout South East Asia, but at the same time, there are also several subspecies which have slight variation, mostly in terms of size. They build a stout mound which under good conditions, may attain large size, and reach almost 2 meters in height.

Their diet is highly varied, and they can subsist on dead grass and other plant matter, in the absense of wood sources, although their main preference is of course, wood. The chewed up plant matter is used to construct elaborate fungus gardens in their nests. There are occasional reports of Macrotermes gilvus being a minor pest, but for the most part in my experience, this is not a termite that bothers humans.

The size of Macroterms gilvus is smaller than that of Macrotermes malaccensis, being no more than 15-16 mm in length (for the major soldier) and the length of the head capsule less than 4 mm. Both worker and soldier castes exhibit dimorphism.

Macrotermes gilvus mound

(Above) Macrotermes gilvus mound. These termites are capable of building large mounds.

Macrotermes gilvus fungus comb

(Above) Macrotermes gilvus fungus comb

Macrotermes gilvus fungus comb close up view.

(Above) Close up view of the fungus comb. This is reconstituted wood and plant matter.

Major workers of Macrotermes gilvus.

(Above) Major workers of M. gilvus.

The minor worker of Macrotermes gilvus

(Above) The minor worker is paler and of course, smaller than the major worker. They mainly attend to nest activities.

Major soldier of Macrotermes gilvus.

(Above) The major soldier.

Minor soldier of Macrotermes gilvus.

(Above) The minor soldier. They occur in far greater numbers compared to the major soldiers.