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Loss of males from mixed-sex societies in termites

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Biology, September 2018
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • One of the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#5 of 1,571)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

32 news outlets
5 blogs
263 tweeters
4 Facebook pages
1 Google+ user
1 Redditor


9 Dimensions

Readers on

67 Mendeley
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Loss of males from mixed-sex societies in termites
Published in
BMC Biology, September 2018
DOI 10.1186/s12915-018-0563-y
Pubmed ID

Toshihisa Yashiro, Nathan Lo, Kazuya Kobayashi, Tomonari Nozaki, Taro Fuchikawa, Nobuaki Mizumoto, Yusuke Namba, Kenji Matsuura


Sexual reproduction is the norm in almost all animal species, and in many advanced animal societies, both males and females participate in social activities. To date, the complete loss of males from advanced social animal lineages has been reported only in ants and honey bees (Hymenoptera), whose workers are always female and whose males display no helping behaviors even in normal sexual species. Asexuality has not previously been observed in colonies of another major group of social insects, the termites, where the ubiquitous presence of both male and female workers and soldiers indicate that males play a critical role beyond that of reproduction. Here, we report asexual societies in a lineage of the termite Glyptotermes nakajimai. We investigated the composition of mature colonies from ten distinct populations in Japan, finding six asexual populations characterized by a lack of any males in the reproductive, soldier, and worker castes of their colonies, an absence of sperm in the spermathecae of their queens, and the development of unfertilized eggs at a level comparable to that for the development of fertilized eggs in sexual populations of this species. Phylogenetic analyses indicated a single evolutionary origin of the asexual populations, with divergence from sampled sexual populations occurring about 14 million years ago. Asexual colonies differ from sexual colonies in having a more uniform head size in their all-female soldier caste, and fewer soldiers in proportion to other individuals, suggesting increased defensive efficiencies arising from uniform soldier morphology. Such efficiencies may have contributed to the persistence and spread of the asexual lineage. Cooperative colony foundation by multiple queens, the single-site nesting life history common to both the asexual and sexual lineages, and the occasional development of eggs without fertilization even in the sexual lineage are traits likely to have been present in the ancestors of the asexual lineage that may have facilitated the transition to asexuality. Our findings demonstrate that completely asexual social lineages can evolve from mixed-sex termite societies, providing evidence that males are dispensable for the maintenance of advanced animal societies in which they previously played an active social role.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 263 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 67 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 67 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 15 22%
Researcher 11 16%
Student > Bachelor 9 13%
Student > Master 9 13%
Professor > Associate Professor 6 9%
Other 11 16%
Unknown 6 9%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 37 55%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 12 18%
Environmental Science 6 9%
Arts and Humanities 1 1%
Computer Science 1 1%
Other 3 4%
Unknown 7 10%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 463. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 02 December 2019.
All research outputs
of 18,249,248 outputs
Outputs from BMC Biology
of 1,571 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 287,060 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Biology
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 18,249,248 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,571 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 20.2. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 287,060 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them