Martin, SJ, Drijfhout, FP and Hart, AG (2019) Phenotypic Plasticity of Nest-Mate Recognition Cues in Formica exsecta Ants. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 45 (9). 735 -740. ISSN 0098-0331

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It is well established that many ant species have evolved qualitatively distinct species-specific chemical profile that are stable over large geographical distances. Within these species profiles quantitative variations in the chemical profile allows distinct colony-specific odours to arise (chemotypes) that are shared by all colony members. This help maintains social cohesion, including defence of their colonies against all intruders, including con-specifics. How these colony -level chemotypes are maintained among nest-mates has long been debated. The two main theories are; each ant is able to biochemically adjust its chemical profile to 'match' that of its nest-mates and or the queen, or all nest-mates share their individually generated chemical profile via trophollaxis resulting in an average nest-mate profile. This 'mixing' idea is better known as the Gestalt model. Unfortunately, it has been very difficult to experimentally test these two ideas in a single experimental design. However, it is now possible using the ant Formica exsecta because the compounds used in nest-mate recognition compounds are known. We demonstrate that workers adjust their profile to 'match' the dominant chemical profile within that colony, hence maintaining the colony-specific chemotype and indicates that a 'gestalt' mechanism, i.e. profile mixing, plays no or only a minor role.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Springer at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: chemical plasticity, chemotypes, Gestalt model, Phenotypic variation, Chemistry
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2019 14:30
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2021 11:40

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