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Egg care by termite soldiers

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The handling and transportation of eggs by soldiers of Prorhinotermes simplex after a nest disturbance is described. The soldiers, apart from performing alarm and defensive activities, tried to handle the eggs on the open surface. They often succeeded in lifting an egg or even a group of eggs, and then searched for a nest entrance. They either entered the nest to come out without the egg(s) within a while, or they passed the egg(s) onto a pseudergate waiting in the opening. As a result, all eggs were rapidly evacuated. Laboratory experimentation showed that pseudergates and nymphs try to deposit the eggs in a dark shelter, whereas the soldiers tend to transfer the eggs to nestmates and drop them after a while if no other termite accepts them.

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Correspondence to J. Šobotník.

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Received 25 February 2005; revised 26 April 2005; accepted 3 May 2005.

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Hanus, R., Šobotník, J. & Cizek, L. Egg care by termite soldiers. Insect. Soc. 52, 357–359 (2005).

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