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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 highly altered strong jaws so 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 their family Rhinotermitidae.57 Many species are readily identified using the qualities of the soldiers' larger and darker head and massive mandibles.53 Among certain termites, soldiers can 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 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 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 this queen swells up dramatically to increase fecundity, a feature known as physogastrism.61 Depending on the species, the queen begins producing reproductive winged alates at a certain time of year, and huge swarms emerge in the colony when nuptial flight begins.

A young termite nymph. Nymphs first moult into workers, but others might farther moult to become soldiers or 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 major differences in life cycle. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, the employees are entirely 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 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 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 the colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, employees must feed thembut workers also take part in the social life of 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 level of oxidative damage, including oxidative DNA damage, than employees, soldiers and nymphs.69 The decreased degrees of harm 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 males 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 move to partner.70 After this link mating, the set never go outdoors 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 the winter.71 The nuptial flight may also additional info 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 varies, with the bigger 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 several years old.53 At maturity, a main queen has a great capacity to lay eggs. In certain species, the mature queen includes a greatly distended abdomen and might produce 40,000 eggs per day.72 The two adult ovaries may have some 2,000 ovarioles each.73 The abdomen increases the queen's body length to several times greater than prior to mating and reduces her ability to maneuver freely; attendant employees offer assistance.

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