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The Power of Reproduction

Posted on 13 May 2012 by RE Team

In human society, the King and his army conquer to build a kingdom. But in an another society King and Queen just reproduce to the extreme to build a whole colony and empire to rule! This nothing but our very known ‘Termite’ colony.

When a mature male and female termite form a pair, they land and break off their wings that they used to swarm. The couple first find a shelter together. Their dream homes are normally a small hole or depression that’s near both soil and wood. The couple work together to seal this nest with saliva, soil and their own waste. Then in that sealed chamber, they mate. The female starts laying eggs. Everyday she lays thousands of eggs creating a colony in just few days.

The Termite Queen with enlarged abdomen

The termite couple takes care for the first generation of the new colony on their own until they’ve raised enough workers to take over the job. Workers expand the nest, and the queen’s abdomen enlarges so she can lay more eggs. At this stage she becomes many times bigger than the males. The king grows only slightly larger after initial mating and continues to mate with the queen for life. The colony started with just pair of termite grows to thousands in number. The male and female becomes the King and the Queen of the kingdom and they keep on expanding their population. It takes two to four years for the colony to mature, and then the cycle starts again with a new set of alates swarming to form new colonies.

The King and Queen not only reproduces they also take full control of their kingdom. They produce a chemical substance, pheromones, that helps regulating the life in the kingdom. These pheromones determine how many larvae become workers, soldiers and alates (future king/queen). If the king or queen dies, these pheromones disappear. Then, one of the secondary or tertiary reproductive becomes the new primary reproductive, sometimes after killing off the competition. Queens can live up to 25 years, while most workers live between two and five years.

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