last updated 28.Nov.2007
Termites, along with the ants, bees and wasps, are among the world's premier social insects. Unlike the other highly social insects, termites are derived from the orthopteroid orders, and several lines of evidence indicate that termites are actually a highly specialized lineage of cockroach (in spite of the common name "white ants", termites are not close relatives of true ants). These insects have developed extensive symbioses with gut micro-organisms, allowing them to digest woody plant material and take advantage of niches unavailable to most other arthropods.
Termites are diverse and abundant insects, particularly in the tropics, and different groups of termites have evolved an impressive array of nest architectures, ecological specializations, and worker caste morphologies.
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