These species occur in rainforests, savannas and mangroves, where they build conspicuous nests. Some termites form castes, which include a worker, soldier and queen.
Termite nests are made of a material called “carton”, which is a mix of digested wood and faecal matter. Their stomachs are adapted to processing wood, although some plant species resist termites. Termite-building abilities are impressive, and they can quickly fix a damaged nest, or termitarium.
Occasionally, termites must share their termitaria with birds such as parakeets, which also use them as nests. Why these birds will also settle in termitaria inhabited by both termites and aggressive biting ants (Dolichoderus species
) is still not clear. These ants may be protecting the birds' nests by attacking predators or by providing a sort of “odour camouflage”.8
Most of the world's 4,000-plus cockroach species live in the tropics. Despite their poor reputation, they carry no diseases, and they do not bite nor sting.
The giant cockroach (Blaberus giganteus
) is one of the largest cockroach species on the planet, with a full-grown individual filling the palm of an adult human's hand. It lives in hollow trees and other reclusive places.
Cockroaches are particularly fond of bat guano (faecal matter), and are hence often found in bat caves.