Colony and Its Chemical Defensive Systems
Termites are small, ant-like creatures that live in crowded
colonies. They build surprising nests that tower above the ground,
which are in themselves wonders of architecture. What's even more
interesting is the fact that the builders of such grandiose towers,
the worker termites, are totally blind.
The structure of the termite nest demonstrates extraordinarily
complex systems. There are special soldier units in the termite
colonies that are responsible for defence. Soldier termites are
equipped with wonderful artillery. While some are warriors, some
are patrolling termites and yet others are "suicide commandos".
From the incubation of the queen to the construction of tunnels
and walls or the harvesting of the cultivated mushrooms, every affair
inside a termite nest depends on the performance in defence of the
Termites start building
their nests at ground level. As the population of the colony
expands, in time the termite nest is enlarged accordingly.
Its height can reach up to 13-16 feet (4-5 metres).
The survival of the colony is dependent upon the existence
of the king and queen who engage in reproduction. The queen starts
expanding after the first fertilisation. Its length can reach up
to 3.5 inches (9 centimetres), and it looks exactly like a reproductive
machine. It cannot move around easily. Since she does not do anything
other than lying eggs, there is a special crew only to take care
of her by feeding and cleaning her. She lays about thirty thousand
eggs in a day, which means close to ten million eggs in her lifetime.
Being barren, the worker termites take care of housekeeping
in the colony. Their lifespan ranges from two to four years. A certain
group constructs and maintains the termite nest. Another group watches
over the eggs, the newborn termites and the queen.
In the construction
of the termite nest, there are supplementary systems such
as air-conditioners, humidifiers and ventilators. Furthermore,
for the different parts of the nest, different temperatures
are set and maintained. The temperature and carbon dioxide
content of circulating air vary depending on location within
the termite nest:40
A: 86°F (30°C) - 2.7% CO2
B: 77°F (25°C) - 2.7% CO2
C: 75°F (24°C) - 0.8% CO2
All members of the termite colony live together in organised
communities. The members of these communities communicate through
senses such as smell and taste, where chemical signals are exchanged.
These deaf, dumb and blind creatures perform and co-ordinate such
complicated duties as, building, hunting, stalking, security alerts
and defence manoeuvres, by means of chemical signals.
The worst enemies of the termite colonies are ants and
anteaters. When a colony comes under attack by one of these predators,
a special suicide arm is launched. African termites are excellent
warriors equipped with razor-sharp teeth. They tear the attacker's
bodies into pieces.
The only connection of a termite nest to the world outside
is through tunnels that are the size of a single termite. Passing
through any one of these tunnels requires "permission". The "guard"
soldier termites at the door easily detect if the intruders are
in fact residents of the colony from their smells. The head of a
single termite can also work as a cap for any one of these tunnels,
which are exactly same size. In case of attack, termites actually
use their heads to close off these holes by entering backwards and
becoming stuck in these doorways.
The Sacrifice of Termites
Another one of the methods of defence that termites often
use is to willingly sacrifice their lives in order to secure the
colony and harm the enemy. Various species of termites achieve these
suicide attacks in different ways, e.g. a certain species living
in the rainforests of Malaysia is particularly interesting. These
termites are like "walking bombs" due to their anatomy and behaviour.
A special sac within their bodies holds a chemical compound that
renders their enemies ineffective. In case of attack, when squeezed
harshly by an ant or any other intruder the termite contracts its
stomach muscles and raptures the lymph tissues, which saturates
the predator with a thick, yellow-coloured fluid.
Termites conduct extremely organised
battles against their worst enemies, the ants and ant-eating
animals. They are so determined in their defences that even
the blind workers throw themselves on the intruders in order
to help the soldiers to overcome the enemy. Above, the picture
shows workers dedicated to helping soldiers with distinctly
Worker termites in Africa and South America utilise a
similar method. This is exactly a suicide attack since the internal
organs of the creature are fatally damaged and the creature dies
If the offensive attack is very strong, then even the
workers enter the battle in order to help the soldiers.
Termites' teamwork and such sacrifice destroys the fundamental
assertion of Darwinism that "every creature lives for its own interest".
Furthermore, these examples show these creatures to be organised
in a very amazing way. For instance, why should a termite want to
be a guardian? If it had an option, why would it choose to have
the heaviest and most self-sacrificing job? If, in fact, it could
choose, it would have chosen the easiest and least demanding duty.
Even if we assume that it decides to sacrifice itself in defence,
then it is still impossible for it to pass this behaviour down to
succeeding generations through its genes. We know that worker termites
are barren and are not able to produce any descendent generations.
Only the Creator of termites could have designed such
a perfect colony life and given constituent termite groups distinct
responsibilities. Guardian termites, too, diligently execute the
duty that Allah inspires in them. The Qur'an states:
…There is no creature Allah does not hold by the
forelock… (Surah Hud: 56)
Systems Preventing Coagulation
Termites utilise special systems created in their bodies
in implementing inborn defensive and instinctive sacrifices. For
instance, some termites spray poisonous chemicals into the scars
inflicted as a result of bites. Some apply an interesting "brushing"
technique; they paste the poison onto the offender's body by using
the upper lip like a brush. Some termites apply an infectious adhesive
onto the attacker by a "spraying" method.
A termite defends its colony even at
the price of its own life. In the picture is a termite spraying
adhesive fluid on an attacking ant.
Defence of the termite nest is the responsibility of
a group of females in a species of African termite. These females
are barren and relatively smaller soldiers. Royal guardians, which
are much larger in size, safeguard the young larvae and the royal
couple by preventing any intruders from entering the royal cell.
Smaller soldiers help the workers in food gathering and repair of
The royal guards have been created for battle; they have
shield-like heads and razor-sharp mandibles designed for defence.
10% of the body weight of the large soldiers is comprised of special
fluids. These fluids are composed of open-chain hydrocarbons (alkenes
and alkanes) and are stored inside sacs located to the front of
their bodies. Royal guards inject these chemical fluids into wounds
inflicted on enemies by means of their lower jaws.
What exactly do these fluids applied to enemies do? Researchers
encountered a very astounding fact in answering this question. The
fluids applied by the termites act to prevent the enemies' blood
from clotting. In the bodies of ants there is a fluid called "haemolymph"
which acts as blood. When there is an open wound in the body, another
chemical starts coagulation and enables the wound to heal. The chemical
fluid from termites renders this clot-forming chemical useless.
The presence of a coagulation system inside the body
of a minute insect like the ant is another testimony to the creation.
It is simply miraculous not only that termites produce a fluid that
can neutralise this system but also have organs that can deliver
the fluid effectively. Certainly, a perfect harmony such as this
cannot possibly be explained through coincidence in any way. Termites
are surely not chemists, who understand the details of the coagulation
system in ants or synthesise a compound formula to neutralise this
system. This flawless design is without a doubt another clear evidence
that these creatures have been created by Allah.
Weapons of Termites
One can find many other similar examples of flawless
design in the world of termites. The soldier termites of a termite
family kill their enemies by rubbing poison onto their bodies. In
order to accomplish this more effectively, they are given smaller
mandibles and brush-like upper lips. These soldiers can also synthesise
and store insecticide chemicals. A typical soldier can store defensive
fluids that comprise up to 35% of its body weight, which is enough
to kill thousands of ants.
Florida resident Prorhinotermes are
created possessing a poison rubbing technique. They make use of
chemicals called "nitroalkane" as poisons. Many other termites also
use methods involving the application of poisons, but the amazing
point is the different chemical structures of all these poisons.
For instance, an African Schedorhinotermes utilise "vinyl ketones".
Guyanan termites have "B-ketoaldehydes" and Armitermes termites
have a "molecular string" as poison and chemicals called "esters"
or "lactones" as their weapons. All of these poisons immediately
react with biological molecules and cause death.
A soldier termite patrols
in front of the termite nests. These termites spray a certain
infectious and adhesive fluid, which is a type of chemical
On the foreheads of members of a Nasutitermitinae termite
family are hose-like projections that have special sacs inside.
In case of danger, the termite points this projection towards the
enemy and sprays an infectious fluid. This weapon works just like
a chemical bazooka.41
According to the theory of evolution, one has to accept
the assumption that "primitive termites" had no chemical production
systems in their bodies and that it somehow formed later as a result
of a series of coincidences. However, such an assumption is totally
illogical. For the poisoning system to work properly, not only the
chemical itself but also the organs to handle these chemicals need
to be totally functional. Furthermore, these organs have to be adequately
isolated so that no poison spreads within the body. The dispensing
organ has to be properly formed and isolated as well. The spraying
pipe further requires a mechanical system that is powered by a separate
All these organs could not possibly have formed in a
process of evolution over time since the lack of a single component
would render the whole system useless causing the extinction of
the termite. Therefore, the only logical explanation would be: the
"chemical weapon system" has been created altogether in the same
moment. And this would prove that there is a deliberate "design"
in all of these, which is called "creation". Just like all the other
creatures in the nature termites have been created in a moment.
Allah, Lord of the Worlds, fabricated the poison production centre
in their bodies and inspired in them the best way to utilise their
faculties. This is mentioned in a verse as follows:
He is Allah - the Creator, the Maker, the Giver
of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the
heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.
(Surat al-Hashr: 24)
40. The Guinness Concise, Encyclopaedia,
London, Guinness Publishing Ltd., 1993, p. 125.
41. Bilim ve Teknik Görsel Bilim ve Teknik Ansiklopedisi
(Encyclopedia of Science and Technology), p. 291.