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The soldier caste has anatomical and behavioural specialisations, and their only real purpose is to defend the colony. Many soldiers have big heads with exceptionally modified powerful jaws so enlarged they cannot feed themselves. Instead, like juveniles, they're fed by workers.5556 Fontanelles, easy holes in the eyebrow which 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 massive 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 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 plays an important role in nasute nutrition.60.

The reproductive caste of a mature colony includes a fertile female and male, 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 life.62 In some species, the abdomen of the 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 the year, and huge 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 significant differences in life span. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, the workers are exclusively female. Men (drones) are haploid and develop from unfertilised eggs, while females (both employees and the queen) are diploid and develop from fertilised eggs.

Depending on species, both 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 my explanation 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 frame depends on food availability, temperature, and the general population of the colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, employees must feed them, but workers also get involved 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 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 effective at 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 lower levels of damage 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 males and females pair up together and then land in search of a suitable place for a colony.70 A termite king and queen do not mate until they find such a place. When they dothey excavate a chamber big enough for both, close up the entrance and proceed to partner.70 After mating, the pair never go outside and spend the remainder of their lives in the nest.

 

 

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By way of instance, alates in certain species emerge during the daytime in summer while some emerge during the 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, humidity, 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 a few years old.53 At maturity, a primary queen has a great capability to lay eggs. In certain species, the adult queen has 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 a number of times greater than prior to mating and reduces her ability to move freely; attendant workers provide assistance.

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