Primary reproductives of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), complete their first reproductive cycle in ≈60 d after nest formation. During this period, the pairs mate several times. The spherical, aflagellate sperm, after transfer by the male, are stored in the female’s spermatheca. Sperm numbers in the spermatheca increase significantly between day 20 and 40, and thereafter they show a steep decline, indicating that the pairs may not be mating after day 40. The spermatheca is bean shaped with an extremely narrow duct. The thick wall of the spermatheca consists mainly of type 3 cells made up of secretory and duct cells. Cuticle-lined ducts are interspersed throughout these cells. Finger-like extensions of the cuticle-lined interior wall project into the spermathecal lumen. The secretory cells presumably provide nutrition for the sperm during their long storage. Eleven anaerobic and six aerobic species of bacteria were cultured and identified from the spermatheca. The role of these bacteria is unknown.
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Vol. 100 • No. 3