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How cathedral termites got to Australia to build their ’sky-scrapers’

ScienceDaily (February 21, 2017)

Titre : How cathedral termites got to Australia to build their ’sky-scrapers’

ScienceDaily (February 21, 2017)
They build among the tallest non-human structures (proportionately speaking) in the world and now a pioneering study has found the termites that live in Australia’s remote Top End originated from overseas — rafting vast distances and migrating from tree-tops to the ground, as humans later did. They adapted to significant environmental changes, including increasingly arid conditions and changed from wood- to grass-eaters, with their ground-based fortresses are now a prominent feature of remote areas ’Down Under’.

Referred to as "cathedral" termites, the Nasutitermes triodiae build huge mounds up to eight metres high in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland — representing some of the tallest non-human animal structures in the world. DNA sequencing found the forebearers, called nasute termites, colonised Australia three times in the past 20 million years or so and evolved from wood to grass-feeding as they adapted to significant environmental changes, including increasingly arid conditions and the conversion of woodlands to grassland habitats in subtropical savannahs and central Australia. Now a prominent feature of the arid landscape "Down Under," the mounds house millions of termites ; this study is the first comprehensive investigation of the evolution of the nesting and feeding of the extended family of termites, through the Australian refugee descendants

Story Source  : University of Sydney.

Annonce (ScienceDaily)

Page publiée le 3 mai 2017