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The reproductive caste of a mature colony includes a fertile female and man, 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 the queen swells up dramatically to increase fecundity, a characteristic known as physogastrism.61 Depending on the species, the queen begins producing reproductive winged alates at a certain period of year, and enormous swarms emerge in the colony when nuptial flight begins.



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A young termite nymph. Nymphs first moult into workers, but others might 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 significant differences in life cycle. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, the employees are exclusively female. Males (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, both 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 little adults, and go through a series of moults as they develop.

The development of nymphs into adults can take months; the time period depends on food availability, temperature, and the general population of the colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, employees must feed them, but workers also take part in the social life of the colony and have certain different tasks to accomplish such as 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 long lifespan without sacrificing fecundity. These long-lived queens have a significantly lower level of oxidative damage, including oxidative DNA damage, than employees, soldiers and nymphs.69 The lower levels of damage 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 spot for a colony.70 informative post 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, close up the entrance and move to partner.70 After mating, the set never go outdoors and spend the remainder of their lives my link in the nest.

By way of example, alates in certain species emerge during the day in summer while others emerge during the winter.71 The nuptial flight may 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, humidity, wind speed and precipitation.71 The number of termites in a colony also fluctuates, with the larger 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 a day when the colony is a few years old.53 At adulthood, a main queen has a great capacity to lay eggs. In some species, the adult queen has a greatly distended abdomen and might create 40,000 eggs a day.72 Both mature 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 move freely; attendant employees offer assistance. .



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The king develops only slightly bigger after initial mating and continues to mate with the queen for life (a termite queen can survive between 30 to 50 years); this is very different from ant colonies, in that a queen mates once with the man (s) and stores the gametes for life, as 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 Since the queen and king are monogamous, sperm news competition does not happen.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 death of a king or queen, or when the primary reproductives are separated out of the colony.6676 Supplementaries have the ability to replace a dead principal reproductive, and there may also be greater than a single supplementary within a colony.53 Some queens have the ability to change from sexual reproduction to asexual reproduction.

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