Evolution and Systematics
Mounds of compass termites provide heating and cooling at appropriate times of day thanks to orientation with respect to the sun.
"In Australia, the compass termites build castles in the shape of huge flat chisel blades, always with their long axis pointing north and south. Such a shape exposes the minimum possible area to the ferocious midday sun but catches the maximum of the feebler rays in the early morning and evening when, especially in the cold season, the termites are grateful for warmth." (Attenborough 1979: 100)
"The termites Amitermes meridionalis and A. laurensis construct remarkable meridional or 'magnetic' mounds in northern Australia. These mounds vary geographically in mean orientation in a manner that suggests such variation is an adaptive response to local environmental conditions. Theoretical modelling of solar irradiance and mound rotation experiments show that maintenance of an eastern face temperature plateau during the dry season is the most likely physical basis for the mound orientation response. Subsequent heat transfer analysis shows that habitat wind speed and shading conditions also affect face temperature gradients such as the rate of eastern face temperature change. It is then demonstrated that the geographic variation in mean mound orientation follows the geographic variation in long-term wind speed and shading conditions across northern Australia such that an eastern face temperature plateau is maintained in all locations." (Jacklyn 1992:385)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Attenborough, David. 1979. Life on Earth. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. 319 p.
- Jacklyn, PM. 1992. “Magnetic” termite mound surfaces are oriented to suit wind and shade conditions. Oecologia. 91(3): 385-395.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:37
Specimens with Barcodes:31
Species With Barcodes:5
Amitermes is a genus of termites in the family Termitidae. It is the second largest genus after Microcerotermes in the subfamily Amitermitinae with around one hundred species. Species are found in a range of habitats including deserts and rainforests. Characteristics of Amitermes soldiers include a bulbous head, sickle-shaped mandibles with a single tooth on their inner margins and cephalic glands on the front of their heads.
- Amitermes beaumonti Banks, 1918
- Amitermes coachellae Light, 1930
- Amitermes conformis
- Amitermes cryptodon Light, 1930
- Amitermes darwini
- Amitermes dentatus
- Amitermes emersoni Light, 1930
- Amitermes ensifer Light, 1930
- Amitermes eucalypti
- Amitermes evuncifer
- Amitermes floridensis Scheffrahn, Su and Mangold, 1989
- Amitermes germanus
- Amitermes heterognathus
- Amitermes laurensis
- Amitermes lonnbergianus
- Amitermes meridionalis
- Amitermes minimus Light, 1932
- Amitermes obeuntis
- Amitermes pallidus Light, 1932
- Amitermes parvulus Light, 1932
- Amitermes parvus
- Amitermes silvestrianus Light, 1930
- Amitermes snyderi Light, 1930
- Amitermes vitiosus
- Amitermes wheeleri (Desneux, 1906)
- Scheffrahn, Rudolf H.; Huchet, Jean-Bernard (2010). "A new termite species (Isoptera: Termitidae: Termitinae: Amitermes) and first record of a Subterranean Termite from the Coastal Desert of South America". Zootaxa 2328: 65–68. ISSN 1175-5334.
- "Amitermes". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
- "Amitermes meridionalis". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
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