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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 the colony is responsible for egg production for its colony. Unlike in ants, the king mates with her life.62 In certain species, the abdomen of this queen swells up dramatically to increase fecundity, a characteristic known as physogastrism.61 Depending on the species, the queen starts producing reproductive winged alates at a certain period 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 might farther 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 significant differences in life span. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, the workers are entirely female. Men (drones) are haploid and develop from unfertilised eggs, while females (both workers and the queen) are both diploid and develop from fertilised eggs.



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

The 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 stages.64 Nymphs resemble little adults, and go through a series of moults as they grow.

The development of nymphs into adults can take months; the time period depends on food availability, temperature, and the general population of this colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, employees must feed them, but workers also take part in the social life of their colony and have certain different activities to accomplish like foraging, building or maintaining the nest or tending to the queen.5367 Pheromones regulate 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 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 seem 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 perform they excavate a chamber big enough for both, shut up the entrance and move to mate.70 After mating, the set never go outdoors and spend the rest of their lives in the nest.

For instance, alates in certain species emerge during the daytime in summer while some emerge during winter.71 The nuptial flight may also begin at dusk, when the alates swarm around regions with plenty 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 bigger species typically 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 per day when the colony is several years old.53 At maturity, a primary queen has a great capability to lay eggs. Get More Info In certain species, the mature queen includes a greatly distended abdomen and may create 40,000 eggs per day.72 Both adult ovaries may have some 2,000 ovarioles each.73 The abdomen increases the queen's body length to several times more than before mating and reduces her ability to maneuver freely; attendant workers provide assistance. .



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The king grows only slightly bigger after initial continue reading this 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 teammates once with the male(s) and stores the gametes for life, as read this article the male ants die soon after mating.6267 If a queen is absent, a termite king produces pheromones which encourage the development of replacement termite queens.74 As the queen and king are monogamous, sperm competition does not occur.75.



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

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