Friday, April 13, 2007

Termites III

Termites never eat a live tree but they will obviously eat its dead branches, or even dead bark, as in the case of the Brazil nut tree. My personal observation is that most of our trees in the Amazon have little bark, thus it's not very common to see termite infestation of the side of trees. The Brazil nut is certainly an exception to the rule. I'm sure that these termites are of a different species than the ones shown in the previous two entries. The nesting material shown in the image seems to be made up of a heavy clay, as opposed to the light decomposed leaves and fecal materials of the others. And it becomes extremely hard when dried out. It takes a smart blow of a machete to break into the nest. It's also interesting to note that the termite infestations are to be found only on one side of the Brazil nut tree, the protected side. The easterly trade winds are prevalent in this region, thus the termites (smart little devils) make their home on the western side of the tree.

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