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Japanese male and female termites (mối) have very sex-specific courtship behaviors known as tandem runs that mark the beginning of a new colony (bầy, đàn). It turns out that same-sex pairings of the same species also perform tandem runs, and members of these same-sex pairings can express the behavior of the opposite sex, delivering the same pair coordination seen in their heterosexual counterparts.

"The tandem run is highly coordinated, with each sex showing a distinct behavior," lead author Dr. Nobuaki Mizumoto, from Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, said in a statement. "The female termite always leads the way, and the male termite always follows close behind. If they get separated, the female pauses while the male searches for her."

The team was intrigued (gợi thích thú, kích thích tò mò) to see if and how such behavior would happen in same-sex pairings. Termites pair up not just for reproduction, but also to groom each other and stay healthy. A quick pairing is also advantageous as it reduces the chance of being preyed upon. So, being open to all sexes seems like a good survival strategy, even more so due to the fact that female termites can choose to reproduce via parthenogenesis (sự sinh sản đơn tính), without the need for a male.

Tags: japan
Tags: science
Tags: sex


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