Document Detail

Colony fusion in Argentine ants is guided by worker and queen cuticular hydrocarbon profile similarity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19609617     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Introduced populations of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, have experienced moderate to severe losses of genetic diversity, which may have affected nestmate recognition to various degrees. We hypothesized that cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC) serve as nestmate recognition cues, and facilitate colony fusion of unrelated L. humile colonies that share similar CHC profiles. In this study, we paired six southeastern U.S. L. humile colonies in a 6-month laboratory fusion assay, and determined if worker and queen CHC profile similarity between colonies was associated with colony fusion and intercolony genetic similarity. We also compared worker and queen CHC profiles between fused colony pairs and unpaired controls to determine if worker and queen chemical profiles changed after fusion. We found that colony fusion correlated with the CHC similarity of workers and queens, with the frequency of fusion increasing with greater CHC profile similarity between colonies. Worker and queen CHC profile similarity between colonies also was associated with genetic similarity between colonies. Queen CHC profiles in fused colonies appeared to be a mix of the two colony phenotypes. In contrast, when only one of the paired colonies survived, the CHC profile of the surviving queens did not diverge from that of the colony of origin. Similarly, workers in non-fused colonies maintained their colony-specific CHC, whereas in fused colonies the worker CHC profiles were intermediate between those of the two colonies. These results suggest a role for CHC in regulating interactions among mutually aggressive L. humile colonies, and demonstrate that colony fusion correlates with both genetic and CHC similarities. Further, changes in worker and queen chemical profiles in fused colonies suggest that CHC plasticity may sustain the cohesion of unrelated L. humile colonies that had fused.
Gissella M V??squez; Coby Schal; Jules Silverman
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2009-07-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of chemical ecology     Volume:  35     ISSN:  1573-1561     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Chem. Ecol.     Publication Date:  2009 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-09-18     Completed Date:  2010-02-03     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505563     Medline TA:  J Chem Ecol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  922-32     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7613, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Ants / genetics,  physiology*
Behavior, Animal
Discriminant Analysis
Genetic Variation
Hydrocarbons / chemistry*
Social Behavior
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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