Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Sex ratio data were collected and orphaning experiments carried out in the New Guinea giant cocoa termite, Neotermes papua. The sex ratio of the alates tends to be slightly female-biased, whereas males represent on average about 60% of the pseuder- gates and soldiers. This might represent a rudimentary form of sex specialization in the production of working individuals. Male neotenics readily appear in orphan cultures. By contrast, only imaginal replacement females were obtained. Neither a higher fecundity nor a quicker differentiation seem able to account for the evolutionary change from neotenic replacement females to imaginal ones. Another explanation is proposed, based on the potential advantages of channelling a maximum proportion of female nymphs into dispersing alates. © 1991 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.