by Alicia Morugán, Miguel Hernández University, Elche, Spain
This picture was taken in The Wollomombi Falls, is a plunge waterfall on the Wollomombi River located in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. The root tree is rotten by termites, a group of eusocial insects that were classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera. Ecologically, termites are important in nutrient recycling, habitat creation, soil formation and quality and, particularly the winged reproductives, as food for countless predators. The role of termites in hollowing timbers and thus providing shelter and increased wood surface areas for other creatures is critical for the survival of a large number of timber-inhabiting species. As detritivores, termites clear away leaf and woody litter and so reduce the severity of the annual bush fires in African savannas, which are not as destructive as those in Australia and the U.S.A. Their role in bioturbation on the Khorat Plateau is under investigation.
Alicia Morugán (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu)