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Termite Soldier Caste

Soldier termites and worker termites, Reticulitermes sp. Photo by Turney.As the name implies the soldier caste is the colony’s security force.  The soldier can be distinguished by their enlarged, hard, yellow-brownish head.  A soldiers primary weapon is it two large jaws called mandibles.  The mandibles are designed to slash, puncture, and crush colony enemies such as ants, spiders and centipedes.  However, the mandibles are not strong enough to be effective against ihuman beings.

Like the worker caste, soldiers are also blind, wingless and soft-bodied.  Because a soldier’s mandibles are adapted primarily for defense purposes, they can not feed themselves.  Soldiers rely on workers to strip and liquefy food for nourishment.

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