termites

A rotting log is a mighty tasty meal—if you're a termite. Termites not only eat wood, some kinds live in it, too. Termites are social insects. This doesn't mean that they like to talk a lot—it means that each member of the colony has an important job. Workers gather food, soldiers protect the nest and attack intruders, and the king and queen produce thousands of new termites each year.

Order: Isoptera
Size: 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long
Range: live underground and in trees throughout the world
Diet: wood
Characteristics: whitish-clear insect with small antennae and four equal-sized wings
Significance: help decompose wood on the forest floor

Image credits: main image: courtesy of Scott Bauer, Agricultural Research Service.