Mysterious African ‘Fairy Circles’ Made by Hungry Termites

Thursday, 28 Mar 2013 05:32 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Mysterious bare spots dubbed “fairy circles” that have been long observed in the African grasslands are caused by termites, a scientist suggests.

The Psammotermes allocerus termite that lives in the sandy soil beneath the circles kill the grass by chewing its roots, according to a study in the journal Science. By clearing the grass, the termites not only feast, they also allow water to be retained in the soil during the dry season.

Robbed: Secret ‘Financial War’ Will Wipe Out Your Wealth, Warns Pentagon Adviser

The circles also contribute to a larger natural advantage. They allow other species, including geckos, aardvarks, bat-eared foxes and spiders to easily find and feed on the termites, said Norbert Juergens, a scientist at the University of Hamburg in Germany who is the study’s lead author.

The circles are “like oases in the desert,” Juergens wrote in the journal article. They are found in the Namib Desert, which runs from mid-Angola to northwestern South Africa, according to the study.


© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

German Researchers: Cellphone Calls, Messages Easy to Crack

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 14:12 PM

Security flaws on the global network that routes the world's cellphone calls and texts could allow hackers and criminals . . .

Kepler's Exoplanet Find Is First Since Space Telescope Revived

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 09:54 AM

The Kepler space telescope has discovered its first exoplanet since NASA's engineers were able to reboot the mission man . . .

Rosetta Comet-Landing Is 2014's Top Science Breakthrough

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 08:37 AM

The top scientific breakthrough of 2014 was the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft's rendezvous with a comet, th . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved