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Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 58–65 | Cite as

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

  • J. Nielsen
  • J. J. Boomsma
  • N. J. Oldham
  • H. C. Petersen
  • E. D. Morgan

Summary:

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.

Key words: Cuticular hydrocarbons, ants, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry. 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Nielsen
    • 1
  • J. J. Boomsma
    • 1
  • N. J. Oldham
    • 2
  • H. C. Petersen
    • 3
  • E. D. Morgan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Aarhus, Ny Munkegade, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark, e-mail: Koos.Boomsma@biology.aau.dkDK
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Keele University, ST5 5BG Keele, Staffordshire, EnglandGB
  3. 3.ADBOU, SDU Odense University, University of Odense, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark DK

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