In an ant colony, a queen mates once with the male(s), stores the gametes for life, and the male ants die shortly after mating. In contrast, several species of termites can form lifelong pair bonds between a female "queen" and a single male "king" who literally give birth to their entire kingdom.
Termites tend to stay with the same mates for a long time, reports Nature. They might stick together for as long as 20 years in some species. If termites do break up, things can get ugly, says researcher Janet Shellman-Reeve of Cornell University. She found that relationship splits are often accompanied by physical violence. Termites may chew off each others' antennae, for example.