Phenotypic plasticity of nest-mate recognition cues in formica exsecta ants

Martin, SJ ORCID:, Drijfhout, FP and Hart, AG 2019, 'Phenotypic plasticity of nest-mate recognition cues in formica exsecta ants' , Journal of Chemical Ecology, 45 (9) , pp. 735-740.

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It is well established that many ant species have evolved qualitatively distinct species-specific chemical profile that are stable overlarge geographical distances. Within these species profiles quantitative variations in the chemical profile allows distinct colony-specific odours to arise (chemotypes) that are shared by all colony members. This help maintains social cohesion, includingdefence of their colonies against all intruders, including con-specifics. How these colony -level chemotypes are maintainedamong nest-mates has long been debated. The two main theories are; each ant is able to biochemically adjust its chemical profileto‘match’that of its nest-mates and or the queen, or all nest-mates share their individually generated chemical profile viatrophollaxis resulting in an average nest-mate profile. This‘mixing’idea is better known as theGestaltmodel. Unfortunately,it has been very difficult to experimentally test these two ideas in a single experimental design. However, it is now possible usingthe antFormica exsectabecause the compounds used in nest-mate recognition compounds are known. We demonstrate thatworkers adjust their profile to‘match’the dominant chemical profile within that colony, hence maintaining the colony-specificchemotype and indicates that a‘gestalt’mechanism, i.e. profile mixing, plays no or only a minor role.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0098-0331
Related URLs:
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2019 14:43
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 13:18

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