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Terminated Termites

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.

 

Puzzle ID:#18798
Fun:*** (2.49)
Difficulty:*** (2.64)
Category:Science
Submitted By:rashadAma****
Corrected By:t4mt

 

 

 



Rashad bought some termites and put them in a suitably ventilated jar. He gave them some leaves to eat that contain important elements termites need to live on. After some days he noticed that many were dying. Rashad was very sad. Can you help him by telling him what was wrong with his termites?



Answer

Termites cannot digest the cellulose in plants themselves, so they get fungi to do it for them. They pile up pieces of leaves underground, and use this to grow fungi. The fungi digest and take in the plant food. The termites then eat pieces of the fungi, which they can easily digest. Rashad had no soil in his jar, thus fungi needed a lot of time to grow. Meanwhile the termites die because they had no cellulose.

All this is a definition of the hint:
Second-Hand Food.

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