The influence of hemimetabolous development in the evolution of termite societies has long been recognized (Kennedy, 1947; Noirot and Pasteels, 1987). Unlike the holometabolous Hymenoptera, termite juveniles do not have to mature before they are capable of work. Hemi-metabolous insects also tend to grow less between molts and molt more often over the course of development (Cole, 1980). This is due, at least in part, to differences in nutritional efficiency between the two groups. The conversion of digested food to body mass can be 50% greater in holometabolous insects, possibly because they do not need to produce and maintain a large mass of cuticle during the juvenile stage (Bernays, 1986).
Was this article helpful?