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The soldier caste has anatomical and behavioural specialisations, and their sole aim is to defend the colony. Many soldiers have large heads with exceptionally altered strong jaws therefore enlarged they cannot feed themselves. Instead, such as juveniles, they're fed by employees.5556 Fontanelles, easy holes in the eyebrow which exude defensive secretions, are a characteristic of the family Rhinotermitidae.57 Many species have been easily identified using the qualities of the soldiers' larger and darker head and large mandibles.53 Among certain termites, soldiers can utilize their globular (phragmotic) heads to obstruct their narrow tunnels.58 Different types of soldiers include minor and major 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 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 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 begins producing reproductive winged alates at a certain period of 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 the social Hymenoptera (ants and various species of bees and wasps), but their differing evolutionary origins result in major differences in life cycle. 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 diploid and grow from fertilised eggs.

Depending on species, male and female workers may have different roles 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 little adults, and undergo a series of moults as they develop.



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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, workers must feed them, but employees also take part in the social life of the colony and also have certain other activities to achieve 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 level of oxidative damage, including oxidative Get More Info DNA damage, than workers, soldiers and nymphs.69 The decreased degrees 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 A termite king and queen do not mate until they find such a place. When they perform they excavate a room big enough for both, close up the entrance and move to mate.70 After mating, the set never go outside and spend the rest of their lives in the nest.



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By way of example, alates in certain species appear during the daytime in summer while some emerge during winter.71 The nuptial flight might 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, 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 several 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 may create 40,000 eggs a day.72 The two adult ovaries may possess 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 workers offer assistance.

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