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Asian subterranean termite queen and king

Asian subterranean termite queen and king

A subterranean termite colony represents a eusocial family unit with a primary pair of reproductives—e.g., queen (left) and king (right) Asian subterranean termites (Coptotermes gestroi), shown here—and sterile helper castes (workers and soldiers). Workers are the only individuals in the colony that can feed on wood, while all other castes (soldiers, eggs, larvae, queen, and king) rely on workers to be fed or taken care of. Chitin synthesis inhibitor baits are consumed by foraging workers, then shared with the rest of the colony through trophallactic exchanges. As all workers progressively die (due to the bait formulation interfering with their molting proess), the soldiers, queen, and king ultimately die from starvation, inevitably leading to colony elimination within three months. (Photo by Thomas Chouvenc, Ph.D.)

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