Nestmate and Kin Recognition in Interspecific Mixed Colonies of Ants

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Science  02 Dec 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4627, pp. 1027-1029
DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4627.1027


Recognition of nestmates and discrimination against aliens is the rule in the social insects. The principal mechanism of nestmate recognition in carpenter ants (Camponotus) appears to be odor labels or "discriminators" that originate from the queen and are distributed among, and learned by, all adult colony members. The acquired odor labels are sufficiently powerful to produce indiscriminate acceptance among workers of different species raised together in artificially mixed colonies and rejection of genetic sisters reared by different heterospecific queens.

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