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Re: Jurassic Termite Nests




Dann Pigdon wrote:

The most numerous species (ie. most of the world's terrestrial biomass)
feed almost exclusively on grasses. I'm just wondering whether termites
were a lot less common before grasses took off. Or would ferns have been
a suitable food source? (they couldn't have been any less nutritious
than spinifex grass)

The Australian termite _Mastotermes darwiniensis_, the most basal of the living termites (Isoptera), feeds mainly on wood. Based on the gut contents of fossil _Mastotermes_ species preserved in amber, the same was true of extinct mastotermitids. Thus, the first termites may have fed primarily on wood, and later exploited grasses as a food source.




Tim

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