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Taxonomy terms

DID YOU CORRECTLY IDENTIFY THE TERMITE SPECIES?

Here we reveal the answers to the termite mound identification competition we ran in the Dec/Jan 2019 issue of the magazine. 

In our Dec/Jan 2019 issue, we held a competition inviting pest managers to identify the termite species from images of termite mounds.

Although many entrants got most of the questions correct, just under half of pest managers correctly identified all six termite species. Of those, the three winners drawn at random were David Farkash (Q Pest), Phillip Piper (Flick/ APC) and Adam McGuiness (Laguna Pest Control), each receiving a 250x magnication USB microscope.

How well did you do? Find out below.

Cathedral termite (Nasutitermes triodiae)

Cathedral termites, which exist in the Northern Territory, and the northern parts of Queensland and Western Australia, build some of the tallest non-human structures in the world, building mounds up to 8m tall. Impressive as they are, homeowners need not be concerned as cathedral termites are primarily grass feeders.

Cathedral termite mounds are up to 8m tall

Magnetic termite (Amitermes species)

There are actually two species of magnetic termite, Amitermes laurensis and Amitermes meridionalis, both of which are grass feeders. Amitermes meridionalis is found near Darwin in the Northern Territory and Amitermes laurensis is found in northern Queensland. Interestingly south of the town of Laura, after which Amitermes laurensis is named, Amitermes laurensis builds simple conical mounds.

Magnetic termite mounds are aligned in a north/south direction

Coptotermes acinaciformis

Coptomtermes acinaciformis is one of the most widespread of the pest termite species and can cause significant damage. Over much of its range, it builds nests at the base of trees, tree stumps and poles, but in the tropical areas it will build noticeable mounds often over 1.5m high.

A Coptomtermes acinaciformis mound in the Northern Territory

Coptomtermes lacteus

Coptomtermes lacteus is found on the east coast from Rockhampton down to eastern and central Victoria (but not in the Sydney basin). It can build mounds up to 2m tall with hard clay walls.

This Coptomtermes lacteus mound was found in the Southern Highlands of NSW

Nasutitermes exitiosus

Nasutitermes exitiosus build low dome-shaped mounds in the eucalypt forests across NSW, ACT and VIC, as well as southern QLD. They can be up to 75cm tall and with a diameter of over a metre.

A Nasutitermes exitiosus nest in the Blue Mountains

Nasutitermes walkeri

Nasutitermes walkeri is a minor pest species and constructs its nests on the trunk of trees, in a fork or on a main branch. The outer casing is easily broken. This species is found from Sydney up to Cairns. These nests can sometimes be confused with Microcerotermes turneri nests which can be found on the top of posts and are similarly brittle. They are also found in a similar range on the east coast, from Port Macquarie to Townsville. Image below of an arboreal nest found on a walk near Byron Bay, NSW.

Nasutitermes walkeri arboreal nests are still connected to the ground