Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 12, Issue 9, pp 1965–1975

Nestmate recognition cues in laboratory and field colonies ofSolenopsis invicta buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Effect of environment and role of cuticular hydrocarbons
  • Martin S. Obin

DOI: 10.1007/BF01041858

Cite this article as:
Obin, M.S. J Chem Ecol (1986) 12: 1965. doi:10.1007/BF01041858


Laboratory-rearedSolenopsis invicta workers were tested for the ability to discriminate nestmates from nonnestmate conspecifics. Postcontact aggressive response to workers from local field colonies was significantly greater than the response to lab-reared workers, even when the latter were selected from colonies originating hundreds of miles away. Behavioral observations support the conclusion that lab-reared ants were less distinctive than field-collected ants with respect to recognition cues detectable on the cuticle. Potential environmental factors affecting colony odor are discussed. In addition, gas-liquid Chromatographic and statistical analyses of the majorS. invicta cuticular hydrocarbons indicate that cuticular hydrocarbon pattern was a poor predictor of laboratory colony response to field colony workers.

Key words

AntsHymenopteraMyrmicinaeSolenopsis invictanestmate recognitioncolony odorcuticular hydrocarbonsenvironmental effectsgas-liquid chromatographymultivariate analysisFormicidae

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin S. Obin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of FloridaGainesville