Ant Nestmate and Non-Nestmate Discrimination by a Chemosensory Sensillum

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Science  08 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5732, pp. 311-314
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105244

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In animal societies, chemical communication plays an important role in conflict and cooperation. For ants, cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) blends produced by non-nestmates elicit overt aggression. We describe a sensory sensillum on the antennae of the carpenter ant Camponotus japonicus that functions in nestmate discrimination. This sensillum is multiporous and responds only to non-nestmate CHC blends. This suggests a role for a peripheral recognition mechanism in detecting colony-specific chemical signals.

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