Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1207–1219 | Cite as

Chemical communication in the dacetine antDaceton armigerum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • Bert Hölldobler
  • Jacqueline M. Palmer
  • Mark W. Moffett


Contrary to previous assumptions,Daceton armigerum, the largest ant in the myrmicine tribe Dacetini, employs trail communication. We identified two anatomical sources of trail pheromones: Trails drawn with poison gland contents can last for more than seven days. Trails drawn with the newly discovered sternal glands (in the VIth and VIIth abdominal sternites) are effective but relatively short-lived. In addition, our bioassays revealed that the contents of the mandibular glands elicit alarm behavior, and secretions from the pygidial gland release attraction. When tested with artificial poison gland trails from seven other myrmicine species,Daceton did not exhibit trail following behavior. We confirmed, however, previous findings thatAtta respond toDaceton poison gland trails andSolenopsis followDaceton Dufour's gland trails.

Key words

Ants Dacetini Daceton armigerum Hymenoptera Formicidae poison gland pygidial gland sternal gland mandibular gland trail communication alarm communication 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Attygalle, A.B. andMorgan, E.D. 1985. Ant trail pheromones.Adv. Insect Physiol. 18:1–30.Google Scholar
  2. Bhatkar, A.P., andWhitcomb, W.H. 1970. Artificial diet for rearing various species of ants.Fla. Entomol. 53:229–232.Google Scholar
  3. Blum, M.S., andPortocarrero, C.A. 1966. Chemical releasers of social behavior, X: An attine trail substance in the venom of non-trail laying myrmicine,Daceton armigerum (Latreille).Psyche 73:150–155.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, W.L., andWilson, E.O. 1959. The evolution of the dacetine ants.Q. Rev. Biol. 34:278–294.Google Scholar
  5. Burns, W., andBretschneider, A. 1981. Thin is In. American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Educational Products Division, Chicago, pp. 19–20.Google Scholar
  6. Carlin, N.F. 1981. Polymorphisms and division of labor in the dacetine antOrectognathus versicolor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).Psyche 88:231–244.Google Scholar
  7. Dejean, A. 1980a. Le comportement de predation deSerrastruma serrula Santschi (Formicidae, Myrmicinae), I: Capacite de detection des ouvrieres, analyse des phase comportementales.Ann. Sci. Nat., Zool., 13(2): 131–143.Google Scholar
  8. Dejean, A. 1980b. Le comportement de predation deSerrastruma serrula Santschi (Formicidae, Myrmicinae), II: Analyse sequentielle.Ann. Sci. Nat., Zool. 13(2): 145–150.Google Scholar
  9. Dejean, A. 1985a. Etude eco-ethologique de la predation chez les fourmis du genreSmithistruma (Formicidae-Myrmicinae-Dacetini), II: Attraction des proies principales (Collemboles).Insect. Soc. 32:158–172.Google Scholar
  10. Dejean, A. 1985b. Microevolution du comportamente de capture des proies chez les dacetines de la sous-tribu des Strumigeniti (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae).Actes Colloq. Insect. Soc. 2:239–247.Google Scholar
  11. Hölldobler, B. 1981. Trail communication in the dacitine antOrectognathus versicolor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).Psyche 88:245–257.Google Scholar
  12. Hölldobler, B., andEngel, H. 1978. Tergal and sternal glands in ants.Psyche 85:285–230.Google Scholar
  13. Hölldobler, B., andWilson, E.O. 1990. The Ants. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. In press.Google Scholar
  14. Jessen, K., Maschwitz, U., andHahn, M. 1979. Neue Abdominaldrüssen bei Ameisen, I: Ponerini (Formicidae: Ponerinae.Zoomorphologie 94:49–66.Google Scholar
  15. Mascorro, J.,Ladd, M.W., andYates, R.D. 1976. Rapid infiltration of biological tissues utilizingn-hexanyl succinic anhydride (HSXA) vinyl cyclohexene dioxide (VCD), an ultra-low viscosity embedding medium. 34th Annual Proceedings of the Electron Microscopy Society of America, p. 346.Google Scholar
  16. Masuko, K. 1984. Studies on the predatory biology of Oriental dacetine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), I: Some Japanese species ofStrumigynes, Pentastruma, andEpitritus, and a MalaysianLabidogenys, with special reference to hunting tactics in short mandibulate forms.Insect. Soc. 31:429–451.Google Scholar
  17. Morgan, E.D. 1984. Chemical words and phrases in the language of pheromones for foraging and recruitment, pp. 169–194,in T. Lewis (ed.). Insect Communication (Symposium of the Royal Entomological Society of London, No. 12) Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  18. Oliveira, L., Burns, A., Bisalputra, T., andYang, K. 1983. The use of an ultra-low viscosity medium (VCD/HXSA) in the rapid embedding of plant cells for electron microscopy.J. Microsc. 132:195–202.Google Scholar
  19. Tumlinson, J.H., Silverstein, R.M., Moser, J.C., Brownlee, R.G., andRuth, J.M. 1971. Identification of the trail pheromone of a leaf-cutting antAtta texana.Nature 234:348–349.Google Scholar
  20. Tumlinson, J.H., Moser, J.C., Silverstein, R.M., Brownlee, R.G., andRuth, J.M. 1972. A volatile trail pheromone of the leaf-cutting ant,Atta texana.J. Insect Physiol. 18:809–814.Google Scholar
  21. Vander Meer, R.K. 1986. The trail pheromone complex ofSolenopsis invicta andSolenopsis richteri, pp. 201–210,in C.S. Lofgren and R.K. Vander Meer (eds.). Fire Ants and Leaf-Cutting Ants: Biology and Management. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.Google Scholar
  22. Wilson, E.O. 1962. Behavior ofDaceton armigerum (Latreille), with a classification of self-grooming movements in ants.Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 127:401–422.Google Scholar
  23. Wilson, E.O. 1971. The Insect Societies. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge. x+548 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bert Hölldobler
    • 1
  • Jacqueline M. Palmer
    • 1
  • Mark W. Moffett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridge

Personalised recommendations