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Termite homosexual coupling


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#1 Offline CoolColJ - Posted November 10 2018 - 3:27 AM

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https://www.livescie...les-scarce.html
 

 

When male termites are single, and no female mates can be found, the guys tend to form homosexual couples in order to survive, a new study finds.


Edited by CoolColJ, November 10 2018 - 3:29 AM.

Current ant colonies -
1) Opisthopsis Rufithorax (strobe ant), Melophorus Sp1. (furnace ant) red and black, Melophorus sp2. black and orange
Lots of Pheidole colonies....
Polyrhachis rufifemur, Rhytidoponera aspera gamergate colony
Journal = http://www.formicult...ra-iridomyrmex/

Nasutitermes fumigatus/dixoni subterranean pet/feeder termite colony journal = http://www.formicult...ournal/?p=96808
Heterotermes cf brevicatena termite pet/feeder journal = http://www.formicult...feeder-journal/


#2 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted November 10 2018 - 3:53 AM

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Thanks for the link, it was short but interesting...



#3 Offline FSTP - Posted November 12 2018 - 7:14 PM

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Um excuse me? but how do they know both male termites identify as male? For all we know one might be identifying as female and that is why they paired!



#4 Offline Kalidas - Posted November 12 2018 - 8:23 PM

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Um excuse me? but how do they know both male termites identify as male? For all we know one might be identifying as female and that is why they paired!


One might also identify as an attack helicopter too! I agree with FSTP respect their identities!

#5 Offline Kalidas - Posted November 12 2018 - 8:26 PM

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But in all seriousness this is pretty neat, and really makes me want to start a homsexual termite colony!

#6 Offline CoolColJ - Posted November 12 2018 - 8:40 PM

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But in all seriousness this is pretty neat, and really makes me want to start a homsexual termite colony!

 

Not that there is anything wrong with that!

 


Current ant colonies -
1) Opisthopsis Rufithorax (strobe ant), Melophorus Sp1. (furnace ant) red and black, Melophorus sp2. black and orange
Lots of Pheidole colonies....
Polyrhachis rufifemur, Rhytidoponera aspera gamergate colony
Journal = http://www.formicult...ra-iridomyrmex/

Nasutitermes fumigatus/dixoni subterranean pet/feeder termite colony journal = http://www.formicult...ournal/?p=96808
Heterotermes cf brevicatena termite pet/feeder journal = http://www.formicult...feeder-journal/


#7 Offline FSTP - Posted November 12 2018 - 8:46 PM

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But in all seriousness this is pretty neat, and really makes me want to start a homsexual termite colony!

 So you just want two termites? I can hook you up.



#8 Offline Kalidas - Posted November 12 2018 - 8:54 PM

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But in all seriousness this is pretty neat, and really makes me want to start a homsexual termite colony!

 So you just want two termites? I can hook you up.

Uh... No thanks. That is one bug (and cockroaches) I won't keep lol

#9 Offline Jadeninja9 - Posted November 12 2018 - 9:45 PM

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How are they homosexual if they’re not attempting to mate though?

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#10 Offline FSTP - Posted November 12 2018 - 9:49 PM

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How are they homosexual if they’re not attempting to mate though?

 

 

I wondered the same... I think the researchers are just anthropomorphizing the termites.



#11 Offline Serafine - Posted November 12 2018 - 11:21 PM

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That's like saying juvenile Lion brother-couples are homosexual kinship pairings. There's quite a long way from two males teaming up to survive to two males being emotionally bound to each other and actually trying to raise their own offspring.

 

Insects being insects I doubt that terms like heterosexual or homosexual can even be applied to them - this may make sense for higher mammals like dolphins or birds like penguins which are actually capable of emotions and higher brain functions (dolphin male pairs only meet with females to mate and male penguin couples are even known to drive off the female after she laid her egg, after which the males raise this offspring by themselves - male penguin couples even have an edge in the child-raising competition due to their increased strength and aggressiveness, their offspring often ends up healther than those of regular heterosexual couples which assures the survival of their genes and their behavior patterns).

 

Termite males teaming up is interesting from an evolutionairy point as it could help to explain why actual homosexual behavior evolved in so many different higher animals all across the board but it's a very simple form of cooperation for survival at best - calling those termite male pairings homosexual is misleading, doesn't help anyone and looks like a bit politically overmotivated.

Political or social motives shouldn't obscure your view on scientific facts, that part is for the religious fanatics and all those conspiracy theorists.

 

Um excuse me? but how do they know both male termites identify as male? For all we know one might be identifying as female and that is why they paired!

How do we even know they identify as anything? As far as I know termites (contrary to ants) haven't passed the mirror test so we can't even say if they're actually self-aware.

 

p.s. Clownfish can change their biological sex (they live in male harems lead by a dominant female and when the female dies one of the males changes to a female) but that doesn't make them transgender.


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#12 Offline Jadeninja9 - Posted November 12 2018 - 11:40 PM

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Exactly, Serafine.

Keeper of:

x1 Camponotus hyatti 

x4 Lasius alienus

x2 Tetramorium immigrans

x1 Prenolepis imparis

 


#13 Offline FSTP - Posted November 13 2018 - 12:14 AM

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Exactly Serfine. Mine was just a pithy comment of no consequence.



#14 Offline CoolColJ - Posted November 13 2018 - 2:03 AM

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Not that there is another wrong with that :lol:


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Current ant colonies -
1) Opisthopsis Rufithorax (strobe ant), Melophorus Sp1. (furnace ant) red and black, Melophorus sp2. black and orange
Lots of Pheidole colonies....
Polyrhachis rufifemur, Rhytidoponera aspera gamergate colony
Journal = http://www.formicult...ra-iridomyrmex/

Nasutitermes fumigatus/dixoni subterranean pet/feeder termite colony journal = http://www.formicult...ournal/?p=96808
Heterotermes cf brevicatena termite pet/feeder journal = http://www.formicult...feeder-journal/


#15 Offline Major - Posted November 13 2018 - 8:39 AM

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:o interesting...
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#16 Offline LC3 - Posted November 14 2018 - 12:44 AM

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Same sex pairings in termites is far from unheard of, lots of species practice same sex tandem running as a strategy to avoid predation. Two males normally run in tandem until finding a female in which they will fight and one pairs up with the female. It is thought that tthis increases their survival rate from predation as the male at the front is normally eaten and the other can escape. As you would guess there is an evolutionary pressure to be the larger male in order to win the fights upon pairing up with a male (to be behind) and when encountering a female but not end up too large that it compromises other aspects.

Same sex pairings between females has also been demonstrated in many Reticulitermes spp. of Japan and for whatever reason the females lay unfertilized eggs. One species however R. speratus is capable of reproducing via parthogenesis of need be.

Recently another termite also from Japan, Glyptotermes nakajimai has also been found to be capable of reproducing via parthogenesis and that the asexual populations were completely composed of females. Nonetheless same sex pairing still occures

One reason why same sex pairing in termites seems to be so frequent even if unnecessary for copulation is that termites are incapable of grooming themselves aside from their antennae and must rely on nest mates. Insects after all need to groom a lot and termites are no exception. Termites also posses a low number of glands compared to ants and mainly rely on their saliva for most things. This is even more important if your home is in a bunch of rotting organic material as termites normally do. They also loose their symbiotic microbes upon molting.

http://periodicos.ue...viewFile/32/265
https://www.scienced...022519301924476
https://link.springe...0164-012-0356-7
https://www.sciencea...s-evolution/amp

Edited by LC3, November 14 2018 - 12:48 AM.

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#17 Offline FSTP - Posted November 14 2018 - 11:29 AM

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Annnnnnd LC3 saves the thread from degenerating into a discourse in  the political views of the researchers. Thank you.



#18 Offline Nanos - Posted November 24 2018 - 7:21 AM

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This post exemplifies why one should always and i mean literally always look for the actual paper instead of relying solely on science websites summaries. The paper does not mention the word homosexual or homosexuality at all. It uses words such as male-male pairing and same-sex sexual behavior. Now, you can argue whether making a nest together should be considered sexual behavior but, you cannot argue (legitimately) that the authors assumed that male termites were sexually or romantically attracted to one another which is what the word homosexuality entails. They actually give a pretty clear reason why the pairing might be advantageous (e.g. the grooming LC3 mentioned) and found that more than 2 males can live together in that setup for up to a year which they say suggest cooperation between males. They also found that upon finding a female only one male mates with her. 

 

here is the abstract of the paper:

A wide variety of animals display same-sex behaviours, including courtship, copulation and pairing. However, these behaviours create a paradox, as selection seemingly acts on maladaptive traits, and they have often been regarded as cases of mistaken identity, especially in invertebrates. We show that termite males show nest establishment and pairing formation that usually occur in monogamous colony foundation and demonstrate how this contributes to their fitness. We found that pairs of male dealates stopped searching for females and established nests without females, although single males rarely ceased searching for mates. Males in these male–male pairings had much higher survival than single males. Our colony fusion experiment showed that a male in a surviving same-sex pair can replace a male in an incipient colony and produce offspring. A mathematical model demonstrated that the observed strategy of establishing a male–male pairing instead of searching for females is advantageous when the risk of predation is high, even when colony fusion is very rare. These results indicate that, under certain ecological conditions, a cooperative same-sex pairing with a potential rival for reproduction can be adaptive. Our study implies the existence of various possibilities for explaining the adaptive significance of same-sex sexual behaviours.


Edited by Nanos, November 24 2018 - 7:23 AM.

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