Dr Don's Termite Pages

Termite mounds and other pictures

Petite lady with grande mound.  NT, Australia

I like termite mounds. Mounds are the one place where you can be fairly sure of finding termites when you want them. These mounds are major feats of engineering, constructed one spit ball at a time by blind workers. The mounds are not just heaps of earth, but have intricate architectures, with arches, tunnels, chimneys, insulation, even nursery chambers. Some have gardens of carefully tended fungus. Others, like the one pictured here, are giant larders of stored food, in this case neatly chopped pieces of dry grass.

First, Drs D and Ahmed and a mounda picture of Drs D. and Ahmed next to one of the well photographed (see below) mounds in the NT. See how high these things are!

Mound in foyer of WA MuseumHere's a few of my pictures. Next, a huge grass-eater mound that sat for a while in the foyer of the WA museum in Perth:

Next, a mound in Kakadu with a bushfire behind. Fires don't often kill termite mounds like these. The hard clay wallsare good insulators and even when things get very hot, the mound in bushfire termites can still go into the soil where the temperature hardly changes at all.

cut away moundHere's a cut-away view of a mound of Coptotermes lacteus from my PhD thesis. Inside you can see, the multiple layers and the remains of the tree stump over which it formed.

So, in order to show you a tiny part of the incredible diversity of termite construction, I've begun a listing of pictures available on the net. Use these links to see images of termite colonies. (Sorry, they're nearly all Australian.) I've lost track of a few, so come back for more in a while. If you have any to suggest, please fill out the form below. Pictures from South America and Africa are particularly sought.

A travel advertisement: Termite mound on the Tanami Track, Outback Australia 10/18. © 1995 R & V Moon. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/aust/graphics/outb10.htm
Bicycle traveller with mound in Far North Queensland http://ilios.eng.monash.edu.au/~mcl/CairnsHoliday/Holiday.html
Enormous mound.  NT, Australia Probably the biggest mound photographed on the net. Somewhere in the NT, courtesy of Beyond The Blue travel. Note full-grown guy standing in bottom left of picture! http://www.beyondblue.com/images/nt_termite.gif
Abodude (frank@abo.org) says "The termites in Australia beat all I've ever seen. I will never complain about those little ole red ant hills again . . . . " http://www.abo.org/oz/Animals/Termite.html
A set of largish mounds at Litchfield NP, near Darwin http://www.world.net/Travel/Australia/NT_info/NTTC/scans/b1-30-1b.gif
Four cheetahs on a termite mound, . . . http://ftp.sunet.se/ftp/pub/pictures/animals/cats/cheetahs/cheetah.txt
Inside: (a poem) "By day we're dormant Because it's too hot outside . . . " http://onyx.dartmouth.edu/~dupras/kj/inside.the.termite.mound
Yet another Australian example . . . http://www.vislab.usyd.edu.au/vislab/nicole/australia/knp17.html
Australian Pacific (bus "coach") Tours. http://www.eng.uci.edu/students/mpontius/travel/australia/itinerary/index.html
Magnetic mound near Kakadu & "Dennis" of U Mn . . . http://willow.ncfes.umn.edu/Dennis/termite.htm
Santa Ana Zoo's AFRICAN AVIARY says it's modelled on a termite mound - but it doesn't show in the pictures. . . http://www.santaanazoo.org/tour/aviary.htm
From the middle of an excavated African mound comes this picture of a true african queen. . . http://www.ucar.edu/DMC/321.gif
Three guys ignoring a large African mound . . . http://www.ucar.edu/DMC/327.gif
Saint Louis Zoo Chimpanzees have another fake termite mound that's not in the picture . . . http://www.st-louis.mo.us/st-louis/zoo/anmlattr/junglanm/chimps.html
Termite mounds even interest the people at Xerox Parc! (Their information is a bit wacky, but the spirit is there) . . . http://www.parc.xerox.com/spl/projects/memsisat/sld034.htm
Here's a mound that appears in some maps. (JPEG image 524x330 pixels) . . . http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~markpeters/nt/termite.jpg
This one comes courtesy of a US Navy vessel, the USS Peleliu's visit to Darwin. (JPEG image 304x471 pixels) . . . http://www.peleliu.navy.mil/hill.jpg
Reticulitermes flavipes worker

Have you found a good mound/colony picture? Please tell me about it!

  Dr Don's Termite Pages   www.drdons.net/pictures.htm  Copyright ©1996-2003