Article: article from journal or magazin.
Role of cuticular hydrocarbons in the chemical recognition between ant species in the Pachycondyla villosa species complex.
Journal of Insect Physiology
Cuticular hydrocarbons (HCs) play important roles in insect communication but few studies clearly demonstrate the direct link between HCs and nestmate recognition. Therefore, cuticular lipids were extracted from ants, their HC and non-HC fractions as well as the three principal classes of HCs (n-alkanes, branched alkanes and alkenes) were purified and tested using an immobilizing "joust" device which allowed quantification of early pairwise behavioural responses, mandibular opening and antennal retraction, without occurrence of subsequent damages as in classic dyadic encounters. Chemical recognition of ants was studied at three levels of interactions (intra-colonial, intra-specific and inter-specific). Three closely related species already chemically characterized were used: Pachycondyla villosa (Pv), P. inversa (Pi) and P. subversa (Ps). Each species had its own behavioural responses. Moreover, responses of Pi and Ps towards Pv were significantly longer, than they were between themselves whereas Pv ants were equally aggressive towards Pi and Ps. These differences are in agreement with the results of the cluster analysis of the cuticular HCs profiles that place Pi closer to Ps. In support of the idea that components of cuticular lipids profiles are important for recognition, we found that only the HC fraction and its branched subfraction elicited a behavioural response of Ps workers. It is suggested that internally branched methyl- and dimethylalkanes are involved in recognition behaviour.
Agonistic Behavior/physiology, Animal Communication, Animals, Ants/physiology, Behavior, Animal/physiology, Hydrocarbons/chemistry, Hydrocarbons/metabolism, Lipid Metabolism/physiology, Social Behavior
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