Termite Megalopolis, Brazil, Great Britain
image source: CNN.com

A large area containing termite mounds has been discovered by scientists which is having 200 million termite mounds in northeastern Brazil.

It is said that the mounds are approximately 4,000 years old and shockingly it is covering as much area as Great Britain covers.

“These mounds were formed by a single termite species that excavated a massive network of tunnels to allow them to access dead leaves to eat safely and directly from the forest floor,” researcher and entomologist Stephen Martin of the UK’s University of Salford said in a statement.

Termite Megalopolis, Brazil, Great Britain
image source: KMIZ

“The amount of soil excavated is … equivalent to 4,000 Great Pyramids of Giza, and represents one of the biggest structures built by a single insect species.”

It is also visible from Google Earth and these are the conical mounds which also rise upto 10 feet high. largely hidden from view at ground level in semiarid, thorny-scrub forests, according to research published this month in Current Biology.

Scientists came to know about this when some of the lands were cleared for pasture in recent decades. Various soil samples were collected from there of 11 mounds and it is estimated that they are made about 690 to 3,820 years ago.

That makes them about as old as the world’s oldest known termite mounds in Africa, according to a statement posted online by Cell Press.

“It’s incredible that, in this day and age, you can find an ‘unknown’ biological wonder of this sheer size and age still existing, with the occupants still present,” Martin said.

The researchers said there are still many unanswered questions about the termite colonies, including the exact physical structure of the nests. No queen chamber for the species has ever been found.

These mounds are not nests of termites but they are the slow and steady excavation of a network of interconnected tunnels which makes them in a conical shape.

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