Wild Animals

Top 10 Animal Workaholics

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Thinkstock (7) I Anup Shah/Thinkstock I Mike

Termites When most people hear termites, they immediately think of destruction, but these tiny wood eaters actually serve a purpose beyond being a homeowner's worst nightmare. Termites appear to operate within a social system very similar to that of ants. The worker termites are white, or often appear transparent, and are first on the scene when a new wood source is found. They are responsible for locating food resources, excavating the wood, and caring for young termites. Soldier termites are physically mature and can be identified by their yellow to brown heads and black mouths. Their main responsibility is to protect the colony from enemies like ants or termites from competing colonies. The only winged termites in a colony are called alates, or swarmers, and they are in charge of starting new colonies. While billions of dollars are spent every year trying to control termite infestations, these little demolishers are an important part of forests' ecosystems, since they break down cellulose in wood for consumption by plants and animals.

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