, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 187-203

The major component of the trail pheromone of the leaf-cutting ant,Atta sexdens rubropilosa forel

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Abstract

The major component of the trail pheromone of the South American leaf-cutting ant,Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel, is 3-ethyl-2,5-dimethylpyrazine (II). Methyl and ethyl phenylacetate and methyl 4-methylpyrrole-2-carboxylate (I), which is the major component of the trail pheromone ofA. texana (Buckley) andA. cephalotes (L.), were also identified and may be minor components. The pheromone is stored in the poison gland.Atta sexdens sexdens (L.) also responds strongly to the pyrazine, which in large amounts evokes a weak response fromA. texana, A. cephalotes, andAcromyrmex octospinosus (Reich). Foraging workers ofAtta sexdens rubropilosa did not preferentially pick up baits impregnated with the pyrazine. The pyrazine was puffed into the nests ofA. cephalotes, and a particular response called “milling” was noted.