Life in Rural Kyrgyzstan
World|science|November 21, 2018 / 05:14 PM
Ancient termite megapolis as large as Britain found in Brazil

AKIPRESS.COM - Researchers have discovered a gigantic complex of 200 million termite mounds in northeastern Brazil, which may be up to 4,000 years old and covers an area about the size of Great Britain, CNN reports.

Although visible on Google Earth, the conical mounds, some of which rise up to 10 feet high, are largely hidden from view at ground level in semiarid, thorny-scrub forests, according to research published this month in Current Biology.

"These mounds were formed by a single termite species that excavated a massive network of tunnels to allow them to access dead leaves to eat safely and directly from the forest floor," researcher and entomologist Stephen Martin of the UK's University of Salford said in a statement.

"The amount of soil excavated is equivalent to 4,000 Great Pyramids of Giza, and represents one of the biggest structures built by a single insect species."

The researchers said there are still many unanswered questions about the termite colonies, including the exact physical structure of the nests. No queen chamber for the species has ever been found.

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