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The soldier caste has anatomical and behavioural specialisations, and their only real aim is to defend the colony. Many soldiers have big heads with exceptionally altered strong jaws therefore enlarged they cannot feed themselves. Instead, such as juveniles, they are fed by workers.5556 Fontanelles, simple holes in the forehead that exude defensive secretions, are a feature of the family Rhinotermitidae.57 Many species are readily 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 obstruct their narrow tunnels.58 Different types of soldiers include minor and significant soldiers, and nasutes, which have a horn-like nozzle frontal projection (a nasus).53 These unique soldiers are able to spray noxious, sticky secretions containing diterpenes at their enemies.59 Nitrogen fixation has an important part in nasute nutrition.60.

The reproductive caste of a mature colony includes a prosperous female and man, known as the queen and king.61 The queen of the 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 this 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 time of the year, and enormous swarms emerge in the colony when nuptial flight begins.

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



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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 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.

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

The entire 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 go through check this site out a series of moults as they develop.



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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 this colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, workers must feed them, but workers also take part in the social life of the colony and have certain other tasks 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 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 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 takes place. 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 spot. When they perform , they excavate a chamber big enough for both, close up the entrance and proceed to mate.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 appear 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 areas with a great deal 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.

The queen only lays 1020 eggs in the very early stages of the colony, but lays as many as 1,000 per day when the colony is a few years old.53 At maturity, a main queen has a great capacity to lay eggs. In certain species, the adult queen has a greatly distended abdomen and may produce 40,000 eggs per day.72 The two adult ovaries may possess 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 offer assistance.

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