The Animal Kingdom can be split up into two main groups, vertebrates (with a backbone) and invertebrates (without a backbone). Invertebrates in this guide are taken to include all non-chordate metazoans.
Pilanesberg National Park Invertebrates Include:
Insects (grasshoppers, ants, termites)
Arachnids (spiders, mites, ticks and scorpions)
Crustaceans (crabs, woodlice)
Molluscs with shells (snails)
Molluscs without shells (slugs)
Termites and their termitariums play a significant role in the ecology of the Pilanesberg National Park. Their main contribution to the ecology of this beautiful game reserve is as a source of food. Many insectivorous birds feast on the termites. Termites also form the main diet of large mammals such as the Pilanesberg National Park's aardvark and aardwolf.
In the dry season the sweeter grass that grows on Pilanesberg's termitariums are eagerly sought after by grazing animals in need of nutritious forage. Red hartebeest often use the termite mounds as lookout posts and central points in their territories.
Termitariums are home to a myriad other organisms that are found in the Pilanesberg National Park, ranging from invertebrates to reptiles and mammals. Water monitor lizards lay their eggs in the termitariums where they become safely sealed off and develop at an almost constant temperature and humidity. The ideal incubator!
Predators, especially cheetah, often climb up on them as a vantage point to spot potential prey. Elephants and rhinos use the termite mounds as rubbing posts, sometimes completely demolishing them, and in so doing return the concentrated nutrients to the soil.
Although these little insects are generally not visible to Pilanesberg National Park visitors, their mounds certainly advertise their presence. So, next time you drive past one of these wonders of nature, consider the fact that Pilanesberg probably would have had a completely different ecology and landscape if it weren’t for these little insects.
North West Province Travel Guide
North West Province Map
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