Acta Biologica Hungarica

, Volume 63, Supplement 2, pp 63–68 | Cite as

Octopaminergic System in the Brain Controls Aggressive Motivation in the Ant, Formica Japonica

  • H. AonumaEmail author
  • T. Watanabe


The ant, Formica japonica, is polyphagous and workers hunt other insects as foods. In this study, interspecific aggression was examined in the workers and queens. Behavior experiments demonstrated that interspecific aggressiveness was significantly higher in workers than queens. Workers showed predatory aggressive behavior towards crickets, on the other hand, queens elicited threat behavior but they didn’t attack crickets. In order to investigate neuronal mechanisms underlying regulation of aggressive motivation, the role of biogenic amine in the brain in evoking aggressive behavior was examined by measuring biogenic amine using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with electrochemical detection (ECD). No significant difference in the octopamine (OA) level was found between workers and queens, but the level of N-acetyloctopamine (NacOA) in the brain of queens was significantly higher than that of workers. This study suggests that OAergic system in the brain must involve in controlling aggressive motivation in the ants.


Social insect aggression queen worker biogenic amine 


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2012

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Electronic ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporo, HokkaidoJapan

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