, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 58-65

Colony-level and season-specific variation in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of individual workers in the ant Formica truncorum

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Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of individual workers of the ant Formica truncorum were measured and found to contain relatively few hydrocarbons. Pentacosane, heptacosane, nonacosane and hentriacontane dominated the mixture, but small amounts of the corresponding alkenes were also present. Principal component analysis and nested analysis of variance showed that workers from different colonies varied significantly in quantitative aspects of their cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Furthermore, differences between habitat-patches within populations and (to some extent) between populations were also detected. Finally, workers from the same colony, sampled only a few months apart, were found to be different in the quantitative composition of their cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, emphasising the importance of collecting samples from a colony at a single point in time.

Received 14 August 1997; revised 20 February 1998; accepted 16 April 1998.