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In nest environment modulates nestmate recognition in the ant Camponotus fellah

AuthorsKatzav-Gozansky, T.; Boulay, Raphaël; Vander Meer, R.K.; Hefetz, Abraham
Issue Date2004
CitationNaturwissenschaften 91: 186- 190 (2004)
AbstractMultiple behavioral and chemical studies indicate that ant nestmate recognition cues are low-volatile substances, in particular hydrocarbons (HCs) located on the cuticular surface. We tested the hypothesis that in the ant Camponotus fellah, nest environment, in particular nest volatile odors, can modulate nestmate-recognition-mediated aggression. Workers were individually confined within their own nest in small cages having either a single mesh (SM = limited physical contact permitted) or a double mesh (DM = exposed to nest volatiles only) screen. Individual workers completely isolated outside their nest (CI) served as control. When reintroduced into a group of 50 nestmates, the CI workers were attacked as alien ants after only 2 weeks of separation, whereas the SM workers were treated as nestmates even after 2 months of separation. Aggression towards DM ants depended on the period of isolation. Only DM workers isolated for over 2 months were aggressed by their nestmates, which did not significantly differ from the CI nestmates. Cuticular HC analyses revealed that the profile of the non-isolated ants (NI) was clearly distinct from that of CI, SM and DM ants. Profile differences matched the aggressive response in the case of CI ants but were uncorrelated in the case of SM or DM ants. This suggests that keeping the ants within the nest environment affected nestmate recognition in additional ways than merely altering their HC profile. Nest environment thus appears to affect label-template mismatch by modulating aggressive behavior, as well as the direction at which cuticular HCs diverged during the separation period. © Springer-Verlag 2004.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00114-004-0513-0
issn: 0028-1042
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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