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This earlier conclusion had been based on the similarity of the symbiotic gut flagellates in the wood-eating cockroaches to those in certain species of termites regarded as living fossils.Other researchers advocate the more conservative measure of retaining the termites as the Termitoidae, an epifamily within the cockroach order, which preserves the classification of termites at family level and below.As of 2013, about 3,106 living and fossil termite species are recognised, classified in 12 families.The infraorder Isoptera is divided into the following clade and family groups, showing the subfamilies in their respective classification: Termites are found on all continents except Antarctica.

The similarity of their social structure to that of termites is attributed to convergent evolution.

Termites are major detritivores, particularly in the subtropical and tropical regions, and their recycling of wood and plant matter is of considerable ecological importance.

Termites are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth, colonising most landmasses except for Antarctica.

Dampwood termites are found only in coniferous forests, and drywood termites are found in hardwood forests; subterranean termites live in widely diverse areas.

Most worker and soldier termites are completely blind as they do not have a pair of eyes.

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