Article

Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 187-203

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

3-Ethyl-2,5-dimethylpyrazine
  • John H. CrossAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • , Russell C. BylerAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • , Uzi RavidAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • , Robert M. SilversteinAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • , Stephen W. RobinsonAffiliated withMinistry of Agriculture Extension Service
  • , Paul M. BakerAffiliated withNucleo de Pesquisas de Produtos Naturais, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Ciencias da Saude
  • , João Sabino De OliveiraAffiliated withNucleo de Pesquisas de Produtos Naturais, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Ciencias da Saude
  • , Alan R. JutsumAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Zoology, University College of North Wales
  • , J. Malcolm CherrettAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Zoology, University College of North Wales

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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.

Key words

Trail pheromone 3-ethyl-2,5-dimethylpyrazine leaf-cutting ants Atta sexdens Atta cephalotes foraging bait pickup