Amitermes meridionalis, commonly known as the magnetic termite or compass termite, is a species of eusocial insect in the family Termitidae. It is endemic to northern Australia and the common names derive from the fact that the wedge-shaped mound is aligned with its main axis running north and south.
A large mound may house up to a million individual termites. Each is the nest of a colony of Amitermes meridionalis and houses the queen, king, reproductives, soldiers and workers. The outer surface of the mound is hard and durable whereas the material separating the chambers and galleries inside is more papery. The soldiers are 4 to 6 mm (0.16 to 0.24 in) long and their curved mandibles bear a single in-turned tooth. Many termites never leave the mound and as a result of this protected environment they have thin cuticles, colorless bodies, little sight and little ability to protect themselves.
Distribution and habitatEdit
Amitermes meridionalis is native to the northern part of Northern Territory of Australia, around Darwin. The slab-like mounds are found in low-lying grassland areas that flood during the rainy season. The mounds are often widely scattered, but may be grouped together in a graveyard-like manner.