Soldiers Protecting The Young

Prorhinotermes simplex

Cuban Subterranean Termite, Prorhinotermes simplex
Photo: Rudolf H. Scheffrahn

We imagine soldiers as being tough and combative, not soft and nurturing. The termite soldier caste are defenders of the nest with powerful mandibles for biting predators. When a nest of Prorhinotermes simplex termites is disturbed and eggs are exposed, the soldiers display their nurturing side. Soldiers scoop the exposed eggs and pass them to workers inside the nest or drop them inside the nest and return for more. Part of the defensive role is to ensure that eggs are safely secured in the nest.

Hanus, R., Šobotník, J. & Cizek, L. (2005) Egg care by termite soldiers. Insect. Soc. Vol 52:357. doi:10.1007/s00040-005-0825-x

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Soldiers Protecting The Young

  1. Pingback: Soldiers Protecting The Young – Entomo Planet

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