Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 253–263 | Cite as

Chemistry and functions of exocrine secretions of the antsTapinoma melanocephalum and T. erraticum

  • M. D. Tomalski
  • M. S. Blum
  • T. H. Jones
  • H. M. Fales
  • D. F. Howard
  • L. Passera


Volatile constituents produced by ant workers belonging to the speciesTapinoma melanocephalum andT. erraticum have been analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The pygidial (=anal) gland secretion ofT. melanocephalum is fortified with 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one and actinidine (the mass spectrum of which is corrected in this paper). An unidentified compound was detected in cephalic extracts. The pygidial gland secretion ofT. erraticum was also dominated by 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, in addition to two isomers of iridodial, and iridomyrmecin. The sternal glands contained iridodial and C15-C20 hydrocarbons. Workers ofT. melanocephalum effectively utilize their pygidial gland secretions as an alarm-defense system during aggressive encounters with workers ofSolenopsis geminata. 6-Methyl-5-hepten-2-one is active as a releaser of alarm behavior, and actinidine is repellent to workers ofT. melanocephalum. Cephalic extracts possessed attractant and arrestant properties for workers of this species.

Key words

Tapinoma melanocephalum Tapinoma erraticum pygidial gland sternal gland actinidine chemistry attractant arrestant repellent alarm behavior cephalic extract Solenopsis geminata 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Tomalski
    • 1
  • M. S. Blum
    • 1
  • T. H. Jones
    • 2
  • H. M. Fales
    • 3
  • D. F. Howard
    • 1
  • L. Passera
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthens
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryCollege of William and MaryWilliamsburg
  3. 3.Laboratory of ChemistryNational Heart, Lung and Blood InstituteBethesda
  4. 4.Laboratoire de BiologieUniversité Paul-SabatierToulouse CedexFrance

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