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Isoptera sandias 02.jpg
Structure of an M. natalensis mound
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea
Infraorder: Isoptera
Family: Termitidae
Subfamily: Macrotermitinae
Genus: Macrotermes
Holmgren, 1910[1]

See text

Macrotermes is a genus of termites belonging to the subfamily Macrotermitinae and widely distributed throughout Africa and South-East Asia. Well-studied species include Macrotermes natalensis[2] and M. bellicosus.

Like other genera in the Macrotermitinae, they consume dead plant material indirectly by cultivating a basidiomycete fungus of the genus Termitomyces on galleries inside – often very large – termite mounds. Frequently at the beginning of the rainy season, enormous swarms of winged flying adults disperse to establish new colonies.

Spores are sown on the wood in the nest and treated with a growth hormone. The termites feed on the resulting fungus garden.[3] The fungi produce heat in the nest, which rises towards the closed chimney. The heat is exchanged via the chimney, and its smaller tunnels that lead to the surface. Carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged near the surface of the nest, and workers may open or block individual tunnels to regulate temperature.


The following species are included in the Termite catalogue:[4][5]



  1. ^ Holmgren, Nils (1910). "Das System der Termiten". Zoologischer Anzeiger. 35: 284–286.
  2. ^ Poulsen M, Hu H, Li C, Chen Z, Xu L, Otani S, et al. (October 2014). "Complementary symbiont contributions to plant decomposition in a fungus-farming termite". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 111 (40): 14500–5. Bibcode:2014PNAS..11114500P. doi:10.1073/pnas.1319718111. PMC 4209977. PMID 25246537.
  3. ^ Holm E (2017). Insektopedie. Cape Town: Struik Nature. pp. 114–116. ISBN 978-1-77584-198-2.
  4. ^ Termite catalogue
  5. ^ Organism names
  6. ^ Leuthold RH, Triet H, Schildger B (2004). "Husbandry and breeding of African Giant Termites (Macrotermes jeanneli) at Berne Animal Park" (PDF). Zoologische Garten. 74 (1): 26–37. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-07.

Data related to Macrotermitinae at Wikispecies