My friend Colin and I were at the Nature Research Center last Thursday dissecting termites to show what lives in their abdomens. Turns out there’s a lot in there, and the protists are by far the coolest. Protists are the reason termites can eat wood. They make cellulase that helps the termites digest cellulose, and though most termites can make a little cellulase on their own, the protists are necessary for their digestion. Just like certain bacteria, and maybe fungi, are necessary for ours.
(The quality on this video isn’t the greatest, because it was taken with a smartphone through a microscope eye piece.)