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Order Isoptera: the termites — Examples

Subterranean Termites (Rhinotermitidae)
Subterranean Termites, family Rhinotermitidae.
□ Subterranean Termites live underground, so the only time most people notice them is when the winged reproductive individuals (shown here) swarm out to start up a new nest. See the photographer’s comment below. The name of the termite order, Isoptera, breaks down into two Greek words isos and ptera that together mean “equal wings”, referring to the reproductives: Each has two pairs of wings, which are all the same length and size.
Photographed by: Arnold Lundwall. Identified by: Location: central Massachusetts, USA. Date: 25 May, 2019.
Arnold says, “Central Massachusetts today. These things were pouring out of a nest location in the ground by the hundreds!”
Drywood Termites (Rhinotermitidae)
Drywood Termites, probably West Indian Drywood Termites, Cryptotermes brevis, family Kalotermitidae (the drywood and dampwood termites)
□ As their name implies, Drywood Termites are quite content to live in dry wood (like cabinets and walls). Most other termites, such as Subterranean Termites, prefer moist locations and contact with the soil. According to the University of Florida, Drywood Termites were once called Furniture Termites because they were often seen in or on chairs, tables and other wood-furniture pieces.
Photographed and identified by: Larry N. Lillard. Location: Avon Park, Florida, USA. Date: 11 May, 2019.
Larry says, “After doing more research, I have determined that these are drywood termites which look very similar if not alike subterranean termites.”
Termites (Order Isoptera)
Termites, order Isoptera.
Photographed and identified to order by: D. Allard. Location: Redondo Beach, California, USA. Date: 20 October, 2015. D. Allard says, “I took these today while replacing a trim board on my deck. I found 2 kinds one with pincers and a darker head (soldiers) and the white/clear kind (workers).”
Termites (Order Isoptera)
Termites, order Isoptera.
Photographed and identified to order by: D. Allard. Location: Redondo Beach, California, USA. Date: 20 October, 2015.
D. Allard says, “Usually I just see the damage with no bugs in sight. This was very interesting to see them in their natural environment.”
Termites (Coptotermes spp.)
Termites, possibly in the genus Coptotermes.
□ The workers of these termites make shallow tunnels that look like tubes, but they also get into wood and are a common pest species in the Philippines, where this photo was taken. The photographer has found the wingless and winged termites (shown), as well as larvae that bore into wood. The winged termites are the reproductive individuals. They will mate and then fly off to find a place to start a new colony. See additional comments from the photographer below.
Photographed and identified to order by: Rey Nocum. Location: Philippines. Date: 21 August, 2018. Rey says, “During warm climate, the adults becomes brown and have wings. They fly to look for light, mostly before sunrise, but sometimes they come out in the evening also when an impending rain does not fall. Their wings fall then they seem to mate, because one of them trail another. Then they look for wood or paper.”
Termites (Order Isoptera)
Termites, family Kalotermitidae (the drywood and dampwood termites)
Termites, order Isoptera.
□ These were photographed in the same room: winged and wingless.
Photographed by: Jon Roback. Identified by: Location: southwestern Las Vegas desert, Nevada, USA. Date: 2 August, 2019.
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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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