Task-related environment alters the cuticular hydrocarbon composition of harvester ants

Citation
D. Wagner et al., Task-related environment alters the cuticular hydrocarbon composition of harvester ants, J CHEM ECOL, 27(9), 2001, pp. 1805-1819
Citations number
39
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Environment/Ecology
Journal title
JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY
ISSN journal
0098-0331 → ACNP
Volume
27
Issue
9
Year of publication
2001
Pages
1805 - 1819
Database
ISI
SICI code
0098-0331(200109)27:9<1805:TEATCH>2.0.ZU;2-X
Abstract
Within a colony of harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus), workers in diffe rent task groups differ in the hydrocarbon composition of the cuticle. Fora gers and patrollers, which spend extended periods of time outside the nest, have a higher proportion of saturated, unbranched hydrocarbons (n-alkanes) on the cuticle than nest maintenance workers, which spend only short perio ds of time outside the nest. We tested whether these task-related differenc es in ant cuticular chemistry arise from exposure to conditions outside the nest. Nest maintenance workers experiencing daily, short-term outside expo sure developed a higher proportion of n-alkanes on the cuticle than workers kept inside the lab, Independent manipulations of ultraviolet radiation, r elative humidity, and temperature revealed that only the combination of hig h temperature (ca. 38 degreesC) and low relative humidity (ca. 8%) increase d the proportion of cuticular n-alkanes. The results indicate that warm dry conditions, such as those encountered when an ant leaves the nest, trigger changes in cuticular chemistry.