International Journal of Tropical Insect Science

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International Journal of Tropical Insect Science (1982), 3:39-42 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © ICIPE 1982


Replacement of the royal pair in Macrotermes michaelseni

R. Siebera1 p1 and J. P. E. C. Darlingtona1

a1 International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, P.O. Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya
Article author query
sieber r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
darlington jpe [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


At intervals of 2 months over 1 year, 64 royal cells were removed from mounds of Macrotermes michaelseni to find out whether a new royal pair was produced. In five mounds replacement reproductives were found. Young reproductives from incipient laboratory colonies were never accepted as replacements if they were introduced after the removal of the primary reproductives. One out of 10 royal pairs was accepted if the royal cell was introduced immediately after removal of the original one, and three out of 10 survived if the royal cell was introduced 1 week after the removal of the original one.

Replacement reproductives were only produced when nymphs or alates were in the nest at the time the primary reproductives were removed. It was not possible to find out at what time after the removal a new royal pair was accepted but measurements of the replacement queens showed that they can become fully physogastric within 7 months.

(Received August 05 1981)

(Revised December 20 1981)

Key WordsMacrotermes michaelseni; Macrotermitinae; Isoptera; royal pair; replacement reproductives; alates; nymphs


p1 Present address: Division of Animal Physiology, Zoological Institute, University of Bern, Engehaldenstr. 6, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland.