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What Do Male Termites Do When No Females Are Around?

What Do Male Termites Do When No Females Are Around? Termite Inspection TucsonTermite Control

What would happen if male termites found themselves without any female mates? This scenario occurs in nature occasionally, and has involved many different types of animals. Different animals have different ways of solving problems, and the termites’ way of solving the above problem is surprising.

Recent research has demonstrated that termites turn to homosexual relationships when females are absent from a group. Even though this makes termites the most progressive type of insect, they are also very brutal. For example, when male termites are without females, they will not only resort to homosexual behavior, but they will also hunt down heterosexual termite couples in order to mate with the female, but only after killing the male, of course–not too cool!

Scientists used to be under the impression that homosexual behavior in insects was caused by misrecognizing other insects as being of the opposite sex. However, as a result of this current research into termite mating, it looks like same-sex sexual behavior is deliberate, and not the result of a mistake, at least in the case of Japanese termites. Most of the time, termites remain monogamous and heterosexual. But since males do not live long on their own, they become particularly vulnerable in the absence of their partners. This is why teaming up with another male could be beneficial.

This study also revealed that male termites survive for a much longer period of time if they nest with another male as opposed to nesting alone. The male-to-male relationships were also used for hunting down females. This is especially important since termites are more likely to be attacked while out hunting, and two termites are much more beneficial than just one. The scientists also noticed that these termites will invade and inhabit a heterosexual couples nest with no problem. It should be noted, however, that this homosexual behavior is clearly born out of the need to survive.

Have you ever heard of any other invertebrate animal demonstrating unconventional sexual behavior?