Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 317–328 | Cite as

Chemical composition and function of metapleural gland secretion of the ant,Crematogaster deformis smith (hymenoptera: Myrmicinae)

  • A. B. Attygalle
  • B. Siegel
  • O. Vostrowsky
  • H. J. Bestmann
  • U. Maschwitz


The secretion of the hypertrophied metapleural gland of the antCrematogaster deformis contains a mixture of phenols, consisting mainly of 3-propylphenol, 3-pentylphenol, 3,4-dihydro-8-hydroxy-3-methylisocoumarin (mellein), 5-propylresorcinol, and 5-pentylresorcinol. The secretion is released, as a repellent, when the highly vulnerable petiolar-postpetiolar region of the abdomen is attacked by enemy ants. In addition, small amounts of the secretion are released regularly to serve as an antiseptic, which is considered the original function of the gland. The secretion also has some insecticidal properties.

Key Words

Crematogaster deformis Hymenoptera Myrmicinae ant defensive allomone repellent metapleural gland 3-propylphenol 3-pentylphenol 3,4-dihydro-8-hydroxy-3-methylisocoumarin mellein 5-propylresorcinol 5-pentylresorcinol 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. B. Attygalle
    • 1
  • B. Siegel
    • 1
  • O. Vostrowsky
    • 1
  • H. J. Bestmann
    • 1
  • U. Maschwitz
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Organic ChemistryUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenF.R.G.
  2. 2.Institute for ZoologyUniversity of FrankfurtFrankfurtF.R.G.

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