Termites play a vital role in nature. They break down dead wood and other cellulose materials. This is helpful in the ecosystem and the balance of nature. Termites range in size from 1/8 inch to 1 inch long. Termites vary in colour from white to brown to black, depending on the species and the life stage of the particular termite. Soldiers have very large heads and enormous jaws. The jaws, called mandibles, are on the front of the head. The mandibles enable the soldiers to fight ants. However, the size of the mandibles makes it impossible for the soldiers to feed themselves.