They are excellent recyclers. Termites specialize in feeding on dead plant material which leads eventually to the nutrients trapped in it, being released back into the environment for re-use by growing plants. During the dry season, termites are the main decomposers, but they work hard throughout the year.
Why are termites important in Australia?
There are around 360 species of termites in Australia, but only a small number cause economic damage to crops, timber and other cellulose-based products. The majority of termites are of great benefit to ecosystems through recycling dead and rotten timber and other plant matter and as a source of food to many animals.
Why are termites important in ecosystems?
They burrow tirelessly and aerate the soil, allowing rainwater to trickle in and enable the mixing of nutrients. This also ensures that the ground stays healthy and fertile. Termites feed on the cellulose found in all kinds of dead plants, and their sticky excretions hold the soil together, preventing soil erosion.
Why are termites important to animals?
Nourishment for other animals
Termites are also an essential part of the food chain. Birds, chimpanzees and even ants are known to feed on termites. Being high in protein and fats, they are a good source of nutrition.
Why are termites important?
Termites are an important part of the community of decomposers. They are abundant in tropical and subtropical environments where they help break down and recycle up to one third of the annual production of dead wood.
What Australian animals eat termites?
Numbats are amazing!
The Numbat, also called the banded anteater, is a small endangered marsupial animal native to parts of Australia. They have a long sticky tongue that allows them pick up termites, which they eat exclusively.
How did termites get to Australia?
“We found that the ancestors of Australia’s fortress-building termites were coastal tree-dwellers, which arrived in Australia by rafting long distances over the oceans from either Asia or South America,” Associate Professor Lo said.
What would happen to the ecosystem without termites?
Without termites, much of the earth’s soil would not be fertile enough to sprout the plant life that many animals feed upon in order to survive. … Termite mounds that are located within desert landscapes often provide desert-dwelling animals with their only source of nutritious plant life.
What is the economic importance of termites?
The economic importance of termites extends to mineral exploration, particularly in regolith-dominated terrain, where mineral deposit haloes have been masked by exotic and redistributed weathered materials.
What do termites give back to the ecosystem?
But they play a key role in many natural ecosystems. Scientists have known for years that in tropical forests, termites chew up fallen leaves and dead wood, keeping the fallen material under control and shepherding nutrients from the dead material back into the system to be used by other plants, insects, and animals.
What are termites in an ecosystem?
As soil engineers, termites play a key role in the functioning of many tropical and subtropical ecosystems. … They influence the distribution of natural resources such as water and nutrients in the landscape and consequently the diversity of soil microbes, plants and animals.
Are termites necessary?
Termites are actually important decomposers. They break down tough plant fibers, recycling dead and decaying trees into new soil. These hungry insects are vital to the health of our forests. As they tunnel, termites also aerate and improve the soil.
Do termites decompose animals?
Termites can be beneficial because they decompose dead plant matter and return the nutrients to the ecosystem, just like earthworms and fungi. It’s important to note that they are a valuable component of many ecosystems. Termite queens can live more than 20 years. Keller, L.
Why are termite mounds important to so many animals?
They Help Create Biologically Diverse Habitats
And importantly, the mounds help to create biologically diverse habitat that helps the survival of many, many species. When ants attack and many ants and termites die in their battles, the bodies provide nutrients for the soil around the mounds.
How are termites helpful and harmful?
Termites are helpful in the natural world, as they break down dead trees, supplying nutrients that replenish the soil. Without termites breaking down fallen trees, forests would be impossible to navigate due to the amount of decaying wood littering forest floors.