Document Detail

Solitary foraging in the ancestral South American ant, Pogonomyrmex vermiculatus. Is it due to constraints in the production or perception of trail pheromones?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17187299     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Several North American species of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants exhibit group foraging, whereas South American species are exclusively solitary foragers. The composition of the secretions of the poison and Dufour glands in the South American species, Pogonomyrmex vermiculatus, were analyzed, and the secretions and their components were tested as trail pheromones in laboratory bioassays. The major compounds in the poison gland were the alkylpyrazines, 2,5-dimethylpyrazine, 2,3,5-trimethylpyrazine, and 3-ethyl-2,5-dimethylpyrazine. The Dufour gland contained five alkanes, from tridecane to heptadecane, with pentadecane being most abundant. In behavioral bioassays, poison gland extracts and the mixture of pyrazines produced a trail pheromone effect, whereas the Dufour gland extracts and the alkanes had no effect on ant locomotion. We conclude that group foraging in P. vermiculatus does not arise from the inability to produce or detect possible pheromones, but rather, from physiological and/or ecological factors.
Hugo Torres-Contreras; Ruby Olivares-Donoso; Hermann M Niemeyer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2006-12-23
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of chemical ecology     Volume:  33     ISSN:  0098-0331     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Chem. Ecol.     Publication Date:  2007 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-01-17     Completed Date:  2007-05-21     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505563     Medline TA:  J Chem Ecol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  435-40     Citation Subset:  IM    
Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Communication
Ants / physiology*
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Biological Assay / methods
Pheromones / chemistry*,  physiology*
Scent Glands / physiology*
South America
Reg. No./Substance:

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