Stuart, Alastair M. Department of Zoology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Anatomical characteristics
- Soldier caste
- Worker caste
- Replacement reproductives
- Reproduction and biology
- Colony and kin recognition
- Alarm and defense
- Construction behavior
- Pairing and mating
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A social insect, often destructive to wooden structures, assigned to the order Blattodea. Termites (Fig. 1) have the general characteristics and stages of other exopterygote insects [that is, insects having a simple (incomplete) metamorphosis without a pupal stage and showing relatively slight changes in body form with growth]. They are considered to be social cockroaches and are assigned, along with common cockroaches, to the insect order Blattodea (also known as Blattaria). Previously, termites were classified as a separate order known as Isoptera. However, using genomic and molecular analyses, entomologists have determined that termites are roaches that display high levels of social behavior (unlike common cockroaches, which are more solitary and engage in limited social activity). Thus, the term Isoptera is no longer valid, with the termites being merged into the order Blattodea. See also: Blattodea; Economic entomology; Exopterygota; Insecta; Social insects
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