Biochemical Polymorphism in Ants

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Science  30 Jul 1965:
Vol. 149, Issue 3683, pp. 544-545
DOI: 10.1126/science.149.3683.544


Ants of different sexes and castes produce different odorous compounds. In Pheidole fallax Mayr, soldier ants produce an indole base, probably skatole, whereas minor workers produce a trial substance, Males of certain species of Lasius and Acanthomyops produce mixtures of terpenes and an indole base. These mixtures are discharged during mating pheromones. The terpene mixtures are qualitatively similar, but each species produces a blend of distinctive proportions. Citronellol and 2,6-dimethyl-5-hepten-1-ol have been identified in the mixtures by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.