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Isoptera ~ Termites

Although sometimes mistaken for ants (one common name is "white ant"), termites are not closely related. Like ants, however, they are tiny, social, and live in protected habitats that they create.

Adults and nymphs have chewing mouthparts. They eat mainly plant material but also scavenge animal debris.

Most termites are wingless, but reproductives have four equal wings for their initial mating flights. They then quickly shed their wings and begin a new colony.

Termites develop through incomplete, or simple, metamorphosis: the young larvae develop into workers, soldiers, or winged reproductives. As these are social insects, individuals in different stages of development are always found together.

Size is very small.

Though numerous, termites are rarely seen outside their tunnels and nests, so the species are not familiar looking to the casual observer and are difficult to identify.

These are the Families of Isoptera (termites) likely to be encountered in Austin, Texas:

[subterranean termites]

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