Cyclopentyl ketones: identification and function in Azteca ants

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Science  24 Jan 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4173, pp. 254-255
DOI: 10.1126/science.187.4173.254


The anal gland secretions of dolichoderine ants in the genus Azteca are fortified with cyclopentyl ketones. Since these compounds, 2-methylcyclopentanone, cis-1-acetyl-2-methylcyclopentane, and 2-acetyl-3-methylcyclopentene, release sustained alarm behavior in ant workers, they constitute a new chemical class of insect pheromones. The ketones probably also function as defensive compounds and thus are part of the ants' alarm-defense system.