Parthenogenetic reproduction in neotenics of the subterranean termite Reticulitermes speratus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)


Yoshinobu Hayashi, Natural History Laboratory, Faculty of Science, Ibaraki University, Mito, 310-8512 Japan. Email:


Experiments with artificial colonies consisting of only female workers and those of female nymphs and workers of a subterranean termite, Reticulitermes speratus, showed that neotenics (ergatoids and nymphoids) can reproduce parthenogenetically. The larvae hatched from the eggs produced partheno-genetically by the neotenics were all female and did not have any aberrant external morphology. They had 42 chromosomes and were diploid. The analysis of genotypes at microsatellite loci revealed that the eggs produced parthenogenetically had only one of the two alleles that the mother neotenics possessed, indicating that the eggs were produced by automixis.