Lack of intraspecific aggression in the ant Tetramorium bicarinatum: A chemical hypothesis

Citation
C. Astruc et al., Lack of intraspecific aggression in the ant Tetramorium bicarinatum: A chemical hypothesis, J CHEM ECOL, 27(6), 2001, pp. 1229-1248
Citations number
38
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Environment/Ecology
Journal title
JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY
ISSN journal
0098-0331 → ACNP
Volume
27
Issue
6
Year of publication
2001
Pages
1229 - 1248
Database
ISI
SICI code
0098-0331(200106)27:6<1229:LOIAIT>2.0.ZU;2-Q
Abstract
Tetramorium bicarinatum (Myrmicinae.) is an ant species frequently found in tropical and subtropical areas, particularly in Africa, Southeast Asia (Ja pan), and South America (Brazil). The species is polygynous, reproduces by budding, and has sterile workers. Since the nests are widely distributed in a given area, the problem arises of territorial defense against conspecifi cs. Because not all ants defend territories, we assessed the defensive beha vior of T. bicarinatum workers through intraspecific and interspecific aggr essiveness tests. A detailed behavioral study of the interactions between w orkers from several different colonies of T bicarinatum (originating from J apan and Brazil) showed that workers do not discriminate against conspecifi c nonnestmate individuals, but they are highly aggressive towards allospeci fics (Myrmica rubra, Myrmicinae). The results suggest that each colony from this ant species possesses a similar colonial odor. Chemical analyses of t he cuticular hydrocarbons of these species were made with gas chromatograph y coupled to mass spectrometry. Results showed that the different colonies of T bicarinatum possess a common chemical profile mainly composed of strai ght-chain alkanes and alkenes, while M. rubra possess more methyl-branched alkanes. We, suggest that methyl alkane cues play a determining role in col onial recognition and that these results could explain the underlaying basi s of the lack of intraspecific aggressiveness in T bicarinatum.