After mating, the female lays a single batch of eggs either within the existing gallery, or will find new territory to start a new colony. Here, the eggs hatch into nymphs that resemble small, wingless adults (images right and below). After a short period of parental care, the nymphs undergo hemimetobolosis (moulting into several immature stages before emerging as a fully grown adult after the last moult), moulting a total of four times before reaching adult form. Adult males never eat, and leave the home colony almost immediately to find a female and mate. Those males that can not fly will often mate with females in nearby colonies, meaning their chosen mates are often siblings or closely related. In some species, the female will eat the male after mating, but in any event, the male will not survive for long after mating. A few species are known to be parthenogenetic, meaning they are able to produce viable offspring without fertilisation of eggs. This phemonenon occurs when a female is, for whatever reason, unable to find a male to mate with, thus giving her and her species reproductive security at all times (Hoell et al. 1998).
- H. V. Hoell, J. T. Doyen & A. H. Purcell (1998). Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 389–391. ISBN 0-19-510033-6.
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