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Dorylus male alate

Alate is an adjective that refers to wings or winglike structures.[1] In entomology it refers to the winged form of a social insect (especially ants or termites, but the term can also be applied to aphids and some thrips). Alate females are typically those destined to become queens (also referred to as gynes), whereas alate males are occasionally referred to as "drones" (or "kings", in the case of termites). However, the existence of reproductives that do not have wings (e.g., ergatoid queens and gamergates) necessitates a term to distinguish the winged from the wingless reproductive forms. This is an example of polymorphism associated with eusociality. A "dealate" is an adult insect that shed or lost its wings ("dealation").

In botany alate refers to winglike structures on some seeds that use wind dispersal or it may be used to describe flattened ridges which run longtitudianally on stems.[2]

Image of Euonymous alata showing wing-like structures on the stems


  1. ^ Collins Dictionary (Seventh ed.). Collins. 2008. p. 34. ISBN 9780007261123. 
  2. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). Latin for Gardeners. Royal Horticultural Society. p. 20. ISBN 9781845337315.