Termite females prefer hybrid mating to parthenogenesis when conspecific males are absent

Published: 26 March 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/rhmp3dbkf6.1
Jia Wu


Parthenogenesis and interspecific mating are alternative reproductivereproduction strategies that species have evolved alternative strategies when the opportunity of sexual reproduction issexually reproduce were often hindered by the natural environment. However, it is still unclear how to make a choice between parthenogenesis and interspecific mating when females are unable to reproduce sexually with males of the same species. This study mainly investigated the reproductive behavior of female termites in the absence of male termites of the same species. Here, reproductive behaviors of females Reticulitermes aculabialis (Ra♀) were observed when they encountered a male R. flaviceps (Rf♂) with the absence of male R.aculabialis(Ra♂). The results showed that Ra♀- Rf♂ tandems were more prevalent and stable compared to Ra♀- Ra♀ tandems. When a tandem inadvertently broke apart, the female R. aculabialis displayed longer pauses while waiting for male R. flaviceps, but shorter pauses when another female R. aculabialis was involved. Furthermore, there were mating behavior between female R. aculabialis and males R. flaviceps, resulting in offspring produced in paired Ra♀- Rf♂ colonies were hybridization between female R. aculabialis and male R. flaviceps. These results suggest that interspecific mating and recombination is an important aspect for the choice of reproduction strategy, which will provide new insights into the trade-off between gene contribution rate and genetic diversity.



Animal Reproduction, Termites