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Monday, February 8, 2010
These pictures are of subterranean termites (Reticulitermes sp). The one of the single specimen with the huge mandibles is of a soldier that helps protect the colony. (Some photo-sleuth might say that the droplets of liquid on the soldier are evidence of me refrigerating the specimen, but, although I don't have anything against that practice and do it when necessary, this image was taken in the field.) The two workers appear to be sharing food or water mouth to mouth, a behavior known as trophallaxis. For more information on subterranean termites, see http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/termites/native_subterraneans.htm