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The reproductive caste of a mature colony includes a fertile female and man, 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 for life.62 In certain species, the abdomen of the queen swells up radically to increase fecundity, a characteristic known as physogastrism.61 Depending on the species, the queen starts producing reproductive winged alates at a certain time of the year, and enormous swarms emerge from the colony when nuptial flight begins.



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

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 cycle. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, the workers are exclusively female. Males (drones) are haploid and develop from unfertilised eggs, while females (both employees and the queen) are both diploid and develop from fertilised eggs.



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Depending on species, male and female workers 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 stages.64 Nymphs resemble small adults, and undergo a series of moults as they grow.

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 thembut workers also take part in the social life of the colony and have certain other activities 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 the 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 my explanation 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 leave 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 room large enough for both, shut up the entrance and move to mate.70 After mating, the pair never go outside and spend the remainder of their lives in the nest.

For example, alates in certain species emerge during the daytime in summer while others emerge during winter.71 The nuptial flight might also begin at dusk, when the alates swarm around areas with plenty 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 normally having 1001,000 individuals.



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The queen only lays 1020 eggs in the very early phases of the colony, but places as many as 1,000 per day when the colony is several years old.53 At adulthood, a primary queen has a fantastic capability to lay eggs. In some species, the adult queen has a greatly distended abdomen and may create 40,000 eggs a day.72 Both mature ovaries may have some 2,000 ovarioles every.73 The abdomen increases the queen's body length to a number of times more than prior to mating and reduces her ability to move freely; attendant workers provide assistance. .



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The king grows only slightly larger after initial mating and continues to mate with the queen for life (a termite queen go can live between 30 to 50 years); this is quite different from ant colonies, in which a queen teammates once with the male(s) and stores the gametes for lifetime, as the male ants die shortly after mating.6267 If a queen is absent, a termite king produces pheromones which encourage the development of replacement termite queens.74 Since the queen and king are monogamous, sperm competition does not happen.75.



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Termites going through incomplete metamorphosis on the road to becoming alates type a subcaste in certain species of termite, functioning as potential supplementary reproductives. These supplementary reproductives only grow into main reproductives upon the death of a king or queen, or when the primary reproductives are separated out of the colony.6676 Supplementaries have the capacity to replace a dead primary reproductivesystem, and there can also be more than a single supplementary within a colony.53 Some queens have the ability to switch from sexual reproduction to asexual reproduction.

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