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The reproductive caste of a mature colony includes a wealthy 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 for life.62 In certain species, the abdomen of the queen swells up dramatically to increase fecundity, a feature known as physogastrism.61 Depending on the species, the queen starts producing reproductive winged alates at a certain time of year, and enormous swarms emerge from the colony when nuptial flight begins.

A young termite nymph. Nymphs first moult into employees, but others might farther moult to become soldiers alates.

Termites are often compared with 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 workers are exclusively female. Males (drones) are haploid and develop from unfertilised eggs, while females (both workers and the queen) are diploid and grow from fertilised eggs.

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

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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 frame depends on food availability, temperature, and the general population of this colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, employees must feed thembut employees also take part in the social life of the colony and also have certain other activities to achieve 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.

Queens of the eusocial termite Reticulitermes speratus are effective at a long lifespan without sacrificing fecundity. These long-lived queens have a significantly lower degree of oxidative damage, including oxidative DNA damage, than workers, soldiers and nymphs.69 The decreased levels of harm seem to be due to increased catalase, an enzyme that browse around this site protects against oxidative stress.69.

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Termite alates only leave 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 A termite king and queen do not mate until they find such a place. When they do, they excavate a chamber big enough for both, close up the entrance and proceed to partner.70 After mating, the set never go outside and spend the rest of their lives in the nest.

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For example, alates in certain species appear during the daytime in summer while others emerge during winter.71 The nuptial flight may also begin at dusk, when the alates swarm around regions 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 varies, with the bigger species normally having 1001,000 individuals.

The queen only lays 1020 eggs in the very early phases of the colony, but places as many as 1,000 per day when the colony is several years old.53 At adulthood, a primary queen has a great capability 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 a number of times greater than prior to mating and reduces her ability to move freely; attendant employees provide assistance. .

The king grows only slightly bigger after initial mating and continues to mate with the queen for life (a termite queen can live between 30 to 50 years); this is very different from ant colonies, in which a queen teammates once together with the male(s) and stores the gametes for lifetime, as the male ants die shortly after mating.6267 When 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 path to becoming alates form a subcaste in certain species of termite, functioning as potential supplementary reproductives. These supplementary reproductives only mature into primary reproductives upon the death of a king or queen, or when the primary reproductives are separated from the colony.6676 Supplementaries have the capacity to replace a deceased primary reproductive, and there can also be greater 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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