Termites (order Isoptera) are highly eusocial members of the superorder Dictyoptera. Species generally live in large, highly organized colonies with morphologically specialized worker and gyne castes, and in some lineages a soldier caste also occurs. The termites play an essential ecological role in the decomposition and recycling of a nutritionally poor, highly resistant, but extremely abundant substance: lignocellulose. This digestion is aided by symbionts (either intestinal Protista in lower termites, or fungi or intestinal bacteria in higher termites). In addition, methane excretion from termites contributes 2%–5% of the partial pressure of this gas in the Earth's atmosphere (...

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