This family of termites contains more than 300 species and is found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. It includes various pest species which can destroy wooden structures. Some species have invaded new continents like the Formosan subterranean termite. The species live in the ground but mainly feed on wood. To cross open areas, mud tubes are constructed. Typically colonies consist of 3 castes, workers, soldiers and the reproductive caste.
The soldiers have an opening on the head, the fontanelle, from which a gland ejects a defensive substance against enemies. This substance can be toxic when it enters the body of the attacker through wounds caused by bites of the soldiers.
The following genera are currently entered under this family: