Strike it Rich With Termites


As the old song says, "Everyone wishes for silver and gold." Hardly anyone wishes for termites. Yet results of a recent Australian study found that termites collected gold as they searched underground for nesting material. Researchers also noted that metals accumulate in the bodies of termites, as shown in the photo above, using Zinc as an example. 

University of Georgia professor of entomology Robert Matthews agreed with the Australian findings, saying that scientists have known for some time that social insects living in colonies, such as termites and ants, have potential in the search for precious metals. Australian entomologist Aaron Stewart, who conducted the recent study, agreed that termites have promise as early prospectors:

"Drilling is expensive. If termites can help narrow down the area that needs to be drilled, then exploration companies could save a lot of money."

Read more on termites starring as tiny gold miners at National Geographic. Link

(Photo credit: Aaron Stewart, CSIRO)


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