Panorama of Science: Rapid Relay of Sound Vibration Alarms: Headbanging Termites!


"For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?" (1 st Corinthians 14:8)

Headbanging termites are alarming, literally! Termites dwell in moisture-regulated (and "air-conditioned") mounds much larger than their little (about a centimeter-long) bodies. When termite mounds are structurally breached and attacked, by hungry predators (such as aardvarks or pangolins or ants), some termites (often called "workers," responsible for food acquisition) flee, while other termites (often called "soldiers," some of which serve as "sentinels") defend the colony's homestead, by rushing to perform emergency repairs or by rushing to counter-attack the invaders, perhaps by swarming upon and biting whomever the invading threat is. Those defensive sentinel-like termites, who "sound the alarm," communicate quickly.

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