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Dampwood Termite

Dampwood Termite

Dampwood Termite
Dampwood Termite
Photographer - Alan Henderson
Source - Museum Victoria

Porotermes adamsonii

Dampwood Termites occur in heavily timbered mountainous country, generally in mature living trees, but also in stumps and fallen timber.

They are Australia's third largest termite, growing to over 1 cm long.

Their colonies can become very large, often hollowing a mature tree from roots to branches. This may seem destructive, however they are extremely important animals in the ecology of a forest.

They play the role of decomposers, breaking down the wood as they feed, and the hollows they sculpt in the trees form the homes for many birds and mammals.

The onset of the warmer weather excites great activity within the colonies. Feeding increases and on a warm clear evening, with a weather change on the way, winged termites leave their colony and take to the air for a brief flight searching for a life-partner and a place to live. A few find good lodging in stumps, or the holes where beetles have emerged from trees, however most perish, becoming food for many forest creatures.

The established parent colonies continue sculpting the wood deep within the trees that is unaffected by the dry summer. They work faster when hot, and the colony quickly replaces those lost in the last flight.

Colder weather means a sleepy time, a slowing down. The termites continue to feed but everything is at a greatly reduced pace. They stay deep within the wood away from the cold, often huddled near their queens and eggs.

Developing termites begin to show the first signs of wings forming. They will be the ones that fly in the next summer.

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