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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 large heads with exceptionally modified powerful jaws therefore enlarged they cannot feed themselves. Instead, such as juveniles, they are fed by employees.5556 Fontanelles, easy holes in the eyebrow that exude defensive secretionsare a feature of the family Rhinotermitidae.57 Many species have been easily identified using the qualities of the soldiers' bigger and darker head and massive mandibles.53 Among certain termites, soldiers can utilize their globular (phragmotic) heads to block their narrow tunnels.58 Different sorts of soldiers include minor and significant soldiers, and nasutes, that have a horn-like nozzle frontal projection (a nasus).53 These unique soldiers can spray noxious, sticky secretions containing diterpenes at their enemies.59 Nitrogen fixation plays an important part 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 this 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 this queen swells up dramatically 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 the year, and enormous swarms emerge in the colony when nuptial flight begins.
A young termite nymph. Nymphs first moult into employees, but others might farther 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 employees are entirely female. Men (drones) are haploid and develop from unfertilised eggs, while females (both employees and the queen) are both 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 cycle 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 grow.
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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, workers must feed them, but workers also take part in the social life of the colony and have certain other tasks to accomplish 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.
Termite alates only leave 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 place. When they perform they excavate a chamber big enough for both, close up the entrance and move to mate.70 After mating, the pair 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 emerge during the day in summer while others emerge during the winter.71 The nuptial flight may also begin at dusk, when the alates swarm around areas 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 varies, with the larger species typically having 1001,000 individuals.
The queen only lays 1020 eggs in the very early stages of the colony, but places as many as 1,000 per day when the colony is a few years old.53 At maturity, a main queen has a fantastic capacity to lay eggs. In certain species, the mature queen includes a greatly distended abdomen and might create 40,000 eggs per day.72 Both adult ovaries may possess some 2,000 ovarioles every.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.