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The reproductive caste of a mature colony includes a fertile female and male, known as the queen and king.61 The queen of this colony is responsible for egg production for the colony. Unlike in ants, the king mates with her life.62 In certain species, the abdomen of this queen swells up radically to increase fecundity, a characteristic known as physogastrism.61 Depending on the species, the queen starts producing reproductive winged alates at a certain time of year, and huge swarms emerge from the colony when nuptial flight begins.



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A young termite nymph. Nymphs first moult into workers, but others may further moult to become soldiers or alates.

Termites are often compared with all the social Hymenoptera (ants and various species of bees and wasps), but their differing evolutionary origins result in major differences in life span. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, the employees are exclusively female. Males (drones) are haploid and develop from unfertilised eggs, while females (both employees and the queen) are diploid and grow from fertilised eggs.



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Depending on species, male and female employees may have different roles in a termite colony.63.

The entire life cycle of a termite begins with an egg, but is different from that of a bee or ant in that it goes through a developmental process called incomplete metamorphosis, with egg, nymph and adult phases.64 Nymphs resemble small adults, and undergo a series of moults as they grow.

The development of nymphs into adults can take months; the time frame depends on food availability, temperature, and the general population of this colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, employees must feed thembut workers also get involved in the social life of their colony and have certain different tasks to accomplish like foraging, building or maintaining the nest or tending to the queen.5367 Pheromones govern the caste system in termite colonies, preventing all but a very few of the termites from becoming fertile queens.68.



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Queens of the eusocial termite Reticulitermes speratus are effective at a his explanation long lifespan without sacrificing fecundity. These long-lived queens have a significantly lower level of oxidative damage, including oxidative DNA damage, than workers, soldiers and nymphs.69 The lower degrees of harm appear to be due to increased catalase, an enzyme that protects against oxidative stress.69.

Termite alates only depart the colony when a nuptial flight occurs. Alate men and females pair up together and then land in search of a suitable place for a colony.70 A termite king and queen do not mate until they find such a place. When they dothey excavate a chamber big enough for both, shut up the entrance and move to partner.70 After mating, the set never go outside and spend the rest of their lives in the nest.

For example, alates in certain species emerge during the day in summer while others emerge during winter.71 The nuptial flight might also begin at dusk, when the alates swarm around areas with lots of lights. The time when nuptial flight begins depends on the environmental conditions, the time of day, moisture, wind speed and precipitation.71 The number of termites in a colony also fluctuates, with the larger species normally having 1001,000 individuals.



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The queen only lays 1020 eggs in the very early phases of the colony, but lays as many as 1,000 a day when the colony is several years old.53 At adulthood, a primary queen has a great capacity to lay eggs. In some species, the adult queen has a greatly distended abdomen and may create 40,000 eggs per day.72 The two adult ovaries may have some 2,000 ovarioles every.73 The abdomen increases the queen's body length to several times greater than prior to mating and reduces her ability to maneuver Continue freely; attendant employees offer assistance. .



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The king grows only slightly larger after initial mating and continues to mate with the queen for life (a termite queen can live between 30 to 50 years); this is quite different from ant colonies, in that a queen mates once together with the male(s) and stores the gametes for lifetime, as the male ants die soon after mating.6267 If your queen is absent, a termite king home produces pheromones which encourage the development of replacement termite queens.74 As the queen and king are monogamous, sperm competition does not happen.75.



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Termites going through incomplete metamorphosis on the path to becoming alates form a subcaste in certain species of termite, functioning as potential supplementary reproductives. These supplementary reproductives only mature into main reproductives upon the passing of a king or queen, or when the primary reproductives are separated out of the colony.6676 Supplementaries have the capacity to replace a dead principal reproductive, and there can also be greater than a single supplementary within a colony.53 Some queens have the ability to switch from sexual reproduction to asexual reproduction.

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