31. Symbionts

The 31st chapter of the “Inhabitants of the microworld” series is called “Symbionts”.

Termites feed on wood, of course. But, surprisingly, termites cannot digest wood. Then, how do they feed? The process of digestion of the cellulose and lignin, the main components of wood, is not carried out by termites but by their symbionts. These symbionts are a very special group of protozoa and bacteria inhabiting the interior of the termite’s gut (in this case of the subterranean termites of the genus Reticulitermes). The relationship between these termites (called “lower termites”) and their symbiont bacteria and protozoa is an amazing relation of symbiosis allowing the surviving of all of them, surviving that, in other way, would be impossible.

This is the 31st chapter of a series that will bring to us a video per day during this confinement forced by COVID-19.

We hope that you enjoy this initiative, which gives access to a documentary series for free to the world, and you share it with everyone you think will possibly be interested.

Science into Images’s team.