Termite mound

Genus Macrotermes

Fascinating Facts

  • Like ants, bees, and other social insects, the power of termite colonies is much larger than one individual.
  • A colony starts with one pair (‘king’ and ‘queen’) from which all sterile offspring are hatched.
  • The king and queen give rise to over 1,000,000 termites.
  • Only a few of the 3,000+ species of termites are pests to people.
  • Termite mounds create tiny holes that aid in rainwater runoff, increase soil nutrients, and resist erosion by mixing organic matter in with the sand and soil.


Termites obtain nutrients from wood and plant matter, but cannot digest it themselves. They have microbacteria in their gut that aid in digestion. Macrotermes lives in savannas and grasslands.

Status in the Wild

Not yet assessed by IUCN


Macrotermes contains about 350 species which are found throughout Africa, Southern Asia and Australia. Termites can be found on every continent except for Antarctica.

Location in the Zoo

Invertebrates Zone of the Sculpture Learning Plaza

Animals & Exhibits