Termites – The ‘earthworms’ in arid areas

Oct 8, 2019


Worker harvester termites (Hodotermes mossambicus) at a hole from where they go foraging. 

Dirk Heinrich

Worker termites industriously carry dry plant material to a small hole in the ground. Others climb onto the few blades of grass and cut them into small pieces, ready to be taken into the subterranean nest of the colony. Two species of harvester termites occur in Namibia: a type of Microhodotermes is found only in the south between Ariamsvlei and Lüderitzbucht, while Hodotermes mossambicus is spread across the rest of the country and even thrives on the fringe of dunes.

There are some 60 termite species of 33 genera in Namibia. In contrast to nearly all other termite species, harvester termites can ‘harvest’ in broad daylight because pigmentation protects them against dehydration and UV exposure. All other species have to get to their food sources either under cover of darkness or through the protective tunnels and the galleries which they construct on the surface. 

For more information on harvester termites please have a look on Namibia Outdoor