Video Details

Termites: Secret Queens of Woodlands

Next Airing: Thu, Feb 25th, 2021 at 10:05 AM on UEN-TV
Length: 00:45:17
Usage rights: Expires 6/30/2022

Availability information for this program

The role of subterranean temites in the recycling of wood is fundamental to our ecosystem. Termites are responsible for the disappearance of many tons of decaying wood evey season, as all their components are reintroduced into the cycle of life. They solve a crucial problem. Cellulose and a matrix of lignin, the main components of wood, are not digestible for most animals. So, how do termites do their work? The secret is inside them which we discover when we look inside their intestines. A myriad of tiny and microscopic living beings inhabit the intestines of the termite. They are symbionts that have evolved over millions of years along with termites, and are capable of breaking down cellulose to liberate molecules of sugar for the nourishment of termites. The environment of termites, their work as wood eaters, the tiny microbes helping them to digest wood, and of course, their special organization into castes, are features of termite life you'll see in this program. Macro- and microphotography help us discover why termites are known as "the secret queens of the woodlands."



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