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Populations of the termite species Glyptotermes nakajimai can form successful, reproducing colonies in absence of males, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Biology.
The findings by researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia and Kyoto University, Japan suggest that males are unnecessary for the maintenance of some advanced animal societies in which they previously played an active social role.
Toshihisa - Yashiro - Author - Loss - Males
Toshihisa Yashiro, corresponding author of the said: "The complete loss of males from social insects has been previously reported only in ants and honey bees. Termite colonies were always found to have equal numbers of males and females, and to undergo sexual reproduction. Our paper is the first demonstration that termites can do away with males completely, and get along fine just with females."
The authors discovered populations of G. nakajimai with no evidence of any males in remote coastal areas of Japan. They compared the morphology of individuals from 37 colonies in these areas with those from 37 mixed-sex colonies found elsewhere in...
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