Optimal Reproduction Strategies in Two Species of Mound-Building Termites
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- Cameron, D.A., Ivers, D.J., Evans, T.A. et al. Bull. Math. Biol. (2008) 70: 189. doi:10.1007/s11538-007-9248-3
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We formulate a mathematical model for food collection and production of workers and nymphs in 2 species of mound building termites. We maximise the number of nymphs (reproductives) produced by each colony over its lifetime with respect to the proportion of eggs that hatch as nymphs as opposed to workers. The results predict that food storage has a very important influence on the pattern of nymph and worker production. Food storage affects the part of the year that nymph production dominates, whether nymphs and workers are produced at the same time or not, and the existence of a final phase in the colony’s life when a very large number of nymphs but no workers are produced.