Termites are social insects and live in colonies comprised of different castes. Although they vary slightly between species, there are typically three castes in a termite colony. These three castes all work to ensure the ultimate survival of the colony. Of the three castes, soldier termites are responsible for the protection of their colony.
Soldier termites often are equipped with enlarged mandibles which aid in defense against predators and other threats. The enlarged mandibles also render soldier termites incapable of feeding themselves; worker termites are responsible for feeding other termite castes.
Although termites usually do not attack without provocation, their colonies are often assaulted by natural predators such as ants. When this occurs, soldier termites sacrifice themselves by remaining outside of the breached colony while workers repair any damage.