The termite plays an important role in reprocessing the dead wood and leaf litter on the floor of the rainforest.

In the rainforests of Southeast Asia, troops of as many as 500,000 workers of the genus Hospitalitermes go on periodic forays to restock the food stores of their nests.

They collect lichens, bark-flakes, mosses and other plant materials, which they carry back to the nest in their mandibles or guts.

In northern Queensland, Amitermes herbertensis hollows out rotting logs and tree stumps, then fills them with an earthy material in which it constructs its nest.

Anoplotermes pacificus, of the Brazilian rain forests, has an unusual link with certain plant roots.

The workers construct a large subterranean nest from humus, which they have already chewed and passed through their intestinal tracts. Plant roots invade the nest and form a thick mat around it.

The termites then chew the tips of these roots; this causes them to develop growths like small cauliflowers, which the termites also eat.

If the termites abandon the nest, the roots of the plant will die.