Kings & Queens

Of the many types of insects out there, the termite is one of the few that mates for life. Queen ants and bees mate with a multitude of males to store up sperm for years to come while most other insects mate once and part ways like scorpions. When reproductive termites (king and queen termites) are born, they begin their journey with wings. Using these wings, they take to the air and participate in a nuptial flight. Unlike the ant and bee queens who mate with many males, a termite king looks for his sole companion — a queen who will stay with him forever.

When a king has found his queen, they land and shed their wings before looking for a suitable location to begin their kingdom. For a while, they must care for the eggs themselves. In time, however, their colony will slowly grow from a village to a full-fledged empire. During this time, the queen will undergo physogastry — a process in which the abdomen swells a great amount. This occurs because the queen must be able to lay many eggs quickly, making up for the amount of losses that are incurred whenever a predator attacks their fortress. Because of her expanded abdomen, at some point, the queen will be so large that she will be unable to move on her own, requiring her loyal subjects to drag her to safety whenever it is necessary.