Very similar to Astalotermes both morphologically and biologically. Found in soil pits and the mounds of other species, including Cubitermes, Odontotermes and Trinervitermes (Sands, 1998). The taxonomic separation of Astalotermes and Astratotermes is probably artificial.
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A large, highly amorphous, genus which is almost certainly paraphyletic. A large number (> 20) of species, from Cameroon and Congo (Brazzaville) remain undescribed. There may be hundreds of undescribed species (Sands 1998). It nests predominantly underground, or within the mounds of other soil feeding termites. Only Astalotermes quietus produces an above ground structure: characteristic 'purse' nests consisting of small aggregates of soil-carton chambers 5-20 cm long. These structure are found attached to saplings, small shrubs and occasionally against the sides of trees.
Only two known nests series, both found in Cubitermes mounds in 'Dambo' (seasonally flooded, poorly drained grassy areas) in the Brachystegia/Isoberlinia woodland of Congo (Kinshasa).
Archotermopsis has generally been thought to have a very large number of plesiomorphic (‘primitive’) characteristics, even though the Termopsidae are not the most basal termite family.
The biology of the genus was described in detail by Imms (1919), Chaudry & Ahmad (1972) and Roonwal et al. (1984), and the description below is taken from those accounts.
Savannah termites with extraordinarily complex nests (Grasse 1984). The nests are underground structures, most commonly found under epigeal mounds of Cubitermes. At their most simple the nests differ very little from closely related genera within the group, being nothing more than a collection of chambers made from faecal material. However, many of the nests are complex ovoid structures 30-40 cm in diameter, suspended in chambers that are 2-7 cm larger than the nests. This chamber may be empty or filled with loose sand or lumps of faecal material.
Rain forest genus. Poorly known, but moderately common in soil pits and in the mounds of other soil mound building species. The type series was recorded from the upper layers of mounds of Protermes prorepens (Sands 1998). Type IV feeder.
Species range widely across Africa, from rain forest to arid savannah. Specimens have been recorded commonly from soil pits, from soft mounds possibly built by themselves, and from the mounds of other species. Species include some of the smallest known termites, with head widths down to 0.4 mm. Group III and IV feeders, depending on species.
Known only from a single nest series from Nigeria, from a low amorphous mound in relatively moist savannah woodland. Group IV feeder.
The genus has recently been revised (Sands 1999), several new species having been found in rain forest in southern Cameroon and southern Congo (Brazzavile). It is common and relatively speciose in the soils of the Congo forest block.
The only Anoplotermes-group member in Africa to be clearly associated with dead wood, it s widespread in the Congo forest block, although rarely common in any one locality. It feeds on highly decayed woody material (often with soil plastered into it, although it seems to feed on both the wood and the associated soil), abandoned mounds, especially carton mounds, and has been recorded, in Southern Cameroon, apparently feeding under the runways of Microcerotermes and Nasutitermes. It has more strongly developed molar ridges than most of its congeners within the clade.