How do you think Fireworms work? Are the small ones the males? Non breeding females? Both?
There is so much we have to guess about Fireworm social structures. As far as we know, dragons are born with their assigned sex and do not change sex over the course of their life (as some fish, etc. can do). So we can throw lots of fish social structures out of the way for theorizing. Since Fireworms act so much like bees, I will relate them to bees and suggest maybe they live in that way. I will ignore the fact that dragons are not closely biologically related to bees and instead will simply focus on how the social structure of Fireworms seems somewhat analogous to a beehive.
The first thing to indicate that analogy may work is the presence of the queen Fireworm. She is enormous compared to the other Fireworms, clearly suggesting some biological process has occurred in her which has not for others of her species. Queen bees, which are adult females specially fed to become sexually mature, are larger than any other in the hive, although admittedly the size difference isn’t anywhere close to the size difference between the Fireworm queen and the other Fireworms. But I do think this suggests that the Fireworm queen is the one sexually active female Fireworm in her hive and that she is the one who lays most if not all the eggs in the hive. Maybe she grows larger over time due to a special biological process that kicks in when she becomes sexually active. Maybe she lives a long time and continuously grows during her lifespan. Maybe a combination of things like this.
The small Fireworms are going to be a combination of males and females by this analogy. In bees, the males are drones; their primary function in the hive is fertilization and reproduction. The females are worker bees who will do things like collect food. I would not be surprised if the Fireworms who live close to the queen in the main nest are the males, and that the Fireworms we see scattered abroad an island far from the nest are females. This would allow for males to be around for the queen to reproduce, but the females don’t need to be as closely attached to the nest since they are not reproducing.
We haven’t seen any sign of the dragons really coming and assisting the queen. I don’t know if the males and/or females provide for the queen as we see bees do. It’s possible, and if so, maybe the females do return to the nest from time to time with food and provisions.
If others have different theories, I would love to hear them!