If you've still seen exist termite workers or looked at a image of termites in their shell, you've possibly gotten the feeling that they look approximately larval. They don't have hard exoskeletons like many insects do. Instead, they seem yielding and cloudy. Termites look larval because, in a lot of ways, they are larval. The simply fully mature termites in an whole colony are the king and queen. Even the other reproductive are neotonic -- they are sexually mature but have larval character.
This continuous larval state gives termites a lot of elasticity. Basically, all termites start as eggs, and all eggs are able of developing into any caste. The eggs hatch into larvae, and through a sequence of molts, the larvae expand into workers. The workers can undergo a two-stage molt and become soldiers. Older termites can even undergo regressive molts and go back to an earlier period.
When it's time for a colony to group, some workers molt into winged adults called ablates, from the Latin word for "wing." The ablates gather at an entry to the colony and get ready to make their only flight, recognized as a nuptial flight. Their bodies harden and darken with contact to the air. They begin to look like winged ants.
Photo by China Photos, Getty A termite queen on exhibit at the Chonquing Termite manage Institute
Termites frequently group in the spring when the air is very damp and still, often just after it's rained. Many species group concurrently, even if their colonies are alienated by long distances. Scientists are not certain how this happens, but they think that it helps get better heritable variety by allowing termites from diverse colonies to mate. This is particularly significant because most of the ablates do not live to bear young. Instead, they become food for birds, toads and other animals.
After a male and female ablate form a pair, they land and smash off their wings. At this point, they're calleddealates. They look for refuge, naturally in a small hole or despair that's near both soil and wood. They seal this nest with saliva, soil and their own waste. Then, they mate, and the new queen lays eggs.
The king and queen care for the first age group of the new colony on their own awaiting they've raised adequate workers to take more than the job. Workers expand the nest, and the queen's abdomen enlarge so she can lay more eggs. It takes two to four years for the colony to grown-up, and then the cycle starts again with a new set of ablates swarming to form new colonies.
In adding to laying eggs, the king and queen create pheromones that help control life in the colony. These pheromones decide how many larvae become workers, soldiers and ablate. If the king or queen dies, these pheromones disappear. Then, one of the less important or tertiary reproductive becomes the new main reproductive, sometimes after killing off the opposition. Queens can live up to 25 years, while most workers live among two and five years.
Termite colonies can stay alive for a long time, and in some type, queens lay thousands of eggs every day. For these reasons, termite nests can be huge. Next, we'll take a look at where termites live and how they make their homes.