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The giant termite mound comes to Australia to be admired by people from all over the world, and it will fascinate you too

A giant termite settlement can be seen in Australia’s Litchfield National Park. It is a very sought-after place for termite admirers from all over the world. Termites often live here in nests several meters high.

Termite mounds tend to be very sophisticated structures, especially in the more advanced species.

| Photo: Shutterstock

Australia’s Litchfield National Park covers an area of ​​about 1,500 square kilometers. It is a place with several breathtaking waterfalls where the water flows from them into crystal clear pools. Travelers come here to admire the weathered sandstone pillars and, last but not least, the iconic termite mounds.

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Litchfield National Park is located near the town of Batchelor, 100 kilometers southwest of Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory. This place is roughly 15,000 kilometers as the crow flies from the Czech Republic.

To termite nests on wooden walkways

Litchfield National Park is a very well-preserved piece of the planet that is visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year. One of the main targets are also termite mounds, which are often 100 years old or more.

“They can be reached via wooden walkways,” a local website said Northern Territory.

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Termite mounds are not oriented to the north and south with thinner edges and significantly wider walls to the east and west.

“This is important for thermoregulation inside the nest, as termites prefer high humidity and stable temperatures,” recalled a local tourist website Northern Territory.

What termite mounds look like in Litchfield National Park:

Source: Youtube

In general, in the case of a termite nest, it can be a very sophisticated construction, especially in the case of more advanced species.

“Their termite mounds have a ventilation system that maintains a stable microclimate inside the nest, removes metabolic heat and blows cold air inside. There are also nurseries inside, i.e. places where eggs are stored and where larvae live, which are fed by workers,” Jana Šobotník from Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry.

He reminded that inside the nest there is also a royal chamber, which is the most solid, the best protected part of the nest, where the sexual individuals live.

The queen can reach a size of up to ten centimeters.  For example, in Africa it is considered a delicacy.The queen can reach a size of up to ten centimeters. For example, in Africa it is considered a delicacy.Source: Wikimedia Commons, SharonDawn, CC BY-SA 4.0

What makes termites interesting

Few people know that termites are a species of cockroaches. Individuals are divided into three castes, which can be distinguished by body structure. The size of soldiers and workers varies from two to fourteen millimeters, the size of the queen can reach up to one hundred and ten millimeters.

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Termites usually live in tropical areas, most of these creatures can be found in equatorial Africa, but they are also found, for example, near the Mediterranean Sea and of course also in Australia.

Termite food

In general, termites feed on anything that contains cellulose and lignin. Lignin is an important structural component of wood, ensuring the lignification of its cell walls. Cellulose, in turn, is the main building material of plant primary cell walls. In the case of termites, they are therefore herbivores. Interestingly, most species are able to grow certain types of mushrooms, the consumption of which aids their digestion.

What is the role of termites in nature?

It can be argued that termites are part of the diet of “higher” animal individuals. They themselves feed on dead animals and dead trees and plants. In this way, they have a very important role within the entire ecosystem, as he points out, for example University of Michigan. But it is also a pest that can destroy wooden buildings and releases a considerable amount of methane into the air.

And how many such termites can live in one nest? “For example, the genus Makrotermes can be 5 to 8 million,” said Jan Šobotník from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The insect kingdom is undeniably fascinating. Read our other articles on “insects”:

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