Are termites behind the ‘footprints of the gods’?

    
termites Fairy Circles credit: N Juergens

The mysterious fairy circles may have been caused by termites. Photo: N. Juergens

A flurry of news stories have been published across the world today citing termites as the cause of south-west Africa’s ‘footprints of the gods’ or ‘fairy circles’.

Professor Norbert Juergens, an ecologist from the University of Hamburg, conducted 40 field trips in the Namib Desert where he surveyed the area around and under the circles. The only animal present in all of the ‘footprints’ were a species of sand termitePsammotermes allocerus.

His research claims that the termites are purposefully acting as farmers; creating the cirlces as water traps that support perennial grasses which in turn support the termite population. Incredible stuff!

Read the full article at Sydney Morning Herald online.

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