Termite pictures – Macrotermes malaccensis

Macrotermes malaccensis is a large species of termite measuring about 17-18 mm in length from the mandible tips to the end of the abdomen (major soldier). It belongs to the genus Macrotermes (Holmgren), and is a subterranean species which grows fungus gardens in their subterranean nests, below ground level. Their size varies a little from one place to another though, with the low end size range being much more frequent.

Found under a close canopy rainforest or secondary forest environment up to about 1200 meters above sea level, this termite is also (rarely) found in old urban gardens or parklands which were once forest. It cannot survive in urban areas. While a subterranean species, Macrotermes malaccensis sometimes forages in the open air along exposed trails, but they rarely do this anyway. It is a rare sight indeed to come across their columns moving along a forest trail.

They feed on dead standing timber, tree stumps, fallen logs and branches. A Macrotermes malaccensis colony may have a wide foraging range, but from my experience, they are not always found in their feeding sites. They play an important role in recycling wood in the rainforest environment, and are in every way as impressive in appearance as their African counterparts.

Macrotermes malaccensis column

(Above) Macrotermes malaccensis column foraging in the open

Macrotermes malaccensis trail

(Above) Macrotermes malaccensis moving along the trail

Termite workers and minor soldiers

(Above) Termite major workers and minor soldiers

Major soldier in the column

(Above) A major soldier in the column

Major and minor termite soldiers of M. malaccensis

(Above) Major and minor termite soldiers of M. malaccensis

A major termite soldier of M. malaccensis

(Above) A major termite soldier of M. malaccensis