Termites, given the sheer numbers in their colonies, must operate as a community. Their diminutive size means that as a single entity, they can’t accomplish a great deal. However, put together in a colony of several million? They are capable of breaking down entire forests, creating enormous, multi-layer homesteads for themselves, and pose a considerable threat to the safety and structural integrity of wooden-framed homes.
Beyond the mere teamwork element of being a termite, they must operate in a very coordinated fashion. The colonies are housed inside mounds, and underground lairs, which must incorporate very specific levels of humidity and temperature for the colony to survive. Knowing the habits of this social creature is very important to combatting them, and of late, Japanese researchers made an interesting discovery.
These researchers were studying the mating habits of the termites. They discovered that in the absence of ample females, two male termites would form a working relationship, sharing resources, and working together to better their lot. This improved their odds of survival considerably, for although they couldn’t breed, they created a nest, and pooled each other’s labour.
Same-sex partnerships have been studied in dozens on other animals, including penguins and bonobos. But unlike in those loving relationships, this one has a bit of a devious purpose: when the pair comes across a heterosexual pair, they will kill the male, and mate with the female. However, as a survival technique, they perform admirably well.
This entry was posted in Blog on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
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