Savanna grass is not a particular species of plant: It can refer to several different grasses, including star grass, lemon grass, red oat grass and Rhodes grass. All of these grasses are common to savanna biomes, which are subtropical to tropical regions with large, open expanses of grass-covered ground. In addition to the many well-known mammals that inhabit savanna grass, like lions, zebras and giraffes, there are also several insects and flowering plants that thrive in savanna grass.
While many perhaps think of termites as urban and suburban insects that infest the wooden framework of homes, termites also thrive in the grasses of wild savannas. Termites are hemimetabolous, which means they do not enter a larval stage during their development. Instead, they go straight from eggs to nymphs, or immature termites, which gradually develop into adults. As North Carolina State University mentions, the termite is the only hemimetabolous insect that displays true social behavior. Termites live within large colonies and each termite has a specific class. In a single colony there is one adult male, or king; one adult female, or queen; and several hundred -- or several thousand -- immature termites that serve as either soldiers, defending the colony, or workers, building and maintaining the colony. On the surfaces of savannas, termite colonies appear as grassy mounds that can reach 10 meters or approximately 32-1/2 feet in diameter. The presence of termite mounds in savanna grass has a positive influence on local animal and plant activity.
The lions, zebras, giraffes and other large animals living in savanna biomes generate a lot of excrement or dung. Fortunately, dung beetles rove the grassy floors of these biomes, breaking down the dung piles they encounter. Dung beetle larva feed exclusively on dung, whereas adult dung beetles may expand their palettes to include mushrooms and decomposing plant matter. In some instances, the beetles will roll the dung they encounter into balls and roll it away for storage. If dung beetles did not live in savanna grass, a much higher percentage of dung would harden and remain on the ground, stunting plant growth.
While few trees thrive in savannas, the acacia tree is one of them. Acacia trees are able to grow up and out of the savanna grasses, providing leaves for grazing animals. Sometimes the trees will develop flat tops, which is a sign that giraffes in the area have been feeding on them regularly. The flowers of the acacia develop as clusters of small cylindrical spikes, or globuse heads. These flowers can be either yellow or white.
About the Author
Erik Devaney is a writing professional specializing in health and science topics. His work has been featured on various websites. Devaney attended McGill University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanistic studies.