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caste


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A division found in eusocial insects, such as the Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps) and the Isoptera (termites), in which the individuals are structurally and physiologically specialized to perform a particular function. For example, in honeybees there are queens (fertile females), workers (sterile females), and drones (males). There are several different castes of workers (all sterile females) among ants. See phenotypic plasticity.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation — Zoology and Animal Sciences.


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