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Chemical defense in the three European species ofCrematogaster ants

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The composition of the Dufour gland of the antC. scutellaris has been reinvestigated by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The major components of the gland are (2E,5E,12Z)-4-oxoheneicosa-2,5,12-trien-1-ol acetate (1a) itsΔ 14 andΔ 16 double bond isomers (1b and1c), and the corresponding (Z,Z)-dienes5a and5b, all containing an acetylated C21 chain. The previously proposed structures1d, 1e, and5c, which are based on an homologous acetylated C23 chain, correspond to minor derivatives present in the gland. Traces of acetylated C19 homologs, tentatively identified as1g-1i, have also been found. The Dufour gland contents of the two other EuropeanCrematogaster species have also been studied.C. auberti is very similar toC. scutellaris in producing mainly1a, 1b and1c, together with the same higher and lower homologs, but it lacks the dienic derivatives5, whereasC. sordidula contains essentially the acetylated C19 compounds1g, 1h, and1i, accompanied by acetylated C17 homologs.

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Daloze, D., Kaisin, M., Detrain, C. et al. Chemical defense in the three European species ofCrematogaster ants. Experientia 47, 1082–1089 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01923348

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Key words

  • Ants
  • Crematogaster
  • Dufour gland
  • chemical defense
  • electrophilic contact poisons