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The soldier caste has anatomical and behavioural specialisations, and their sole purpose is to defend the colony. Many soldiers have large heads with highly modified powerful jaws so enlarged they cannot feed themselves. Instead, like juveniles, they are fed by workers.5556 Fontanelles, easy holes in the eyebrow which exude defensive secretionsare a feature of their family Rhinotermitidae.57 Many species have been easily identified using the characteristics of the soldiers' larger and darker head and large mandibles.53 Among certain termites, soldiers may utilize their globular (phragmotic) heads to block their narrow tunnels.58 Different types of soldiers include minor and significant soldiers, and nasutes, that have a horn-like nozzle frontal projection (a nasus).53 These unique soldiers are able to spray noxious, sticky secretions containing diterpenes in their enemies.59 Nitrogen fixation has an important role in nasute nutrition.60.

The reproductive caste of a mature colony includes a prosperous female and male, known as the queen and king.61 The queen of this colony is responsible for egg production for its colony. Unlike in ants, the king mates with her for life.62 In certain species, the abdomen of the 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 period of year, and huge swarms emerge in the colony when nuptial flight begins.

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

 

 

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Termites are often compared with 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 employees and the queen) are both diploid and grow from fertilised eggs.

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

The life span 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.

 

 

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The development of nymphs into adults can take months; the time frame depends on food availability, temperature, and the general population of the colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, workers must feed them, but workers also take part in the social life of view publisher site the colony and have certain other tasks to accomplish such as 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 those termites from becoming fertile queens.68.

 

 

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Queens of the eusocial termite Reticulitermes speratus are capable of 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 lower levels 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 spot 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 large enough for both, shut up the entrance and proceed to partner.70 After mating, the pair never go outdoors and spend the remainder of their lives in the nest.

 

 

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For instance, alates in certain species emerge during the daytime in summer while some emerge during the winter.71 The nuptial flight may also begin at dusk, when the alates swarm around regions with a great deal 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.

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 maturity, a primary queen has a fantastic capacity to lay eggs. In certain species, the adult queen includes a greatly distended abdomen and might 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 prior to mating and reduces her ability browse around this web-site to maneuver freely; attendant employees provide assistance.

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