The 2005 ESA Annual Meeting and Exhibition
December 15-18, 2005
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Beta-eudesmol-induced aggression in the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Cidália Gabriela S. Marinho,, Terezinha Maria C. Della Lucia,, Raul Narciso C. Guedes,, Myriam Marques R. Ribeiro,, and Eraldo R. Lima, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Departamento de Biologia Animal, Campus Universitário, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Leaf-cutting ants are highly polyphagous insects but some plants escape their attack due to the presence of secondary metabolites that are toxic to the ant-fungus symbiosis. Previous studies demonstrated that the terpenoid beta–eudesmol extracted from Eucalyptus is responsible for a deleterious behavior in colonies of leaf-cutting ants species. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of beta–eudesmol on workers of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa. This chemical caused behavioral modification in the colonies leading to workers mutilation and death. It is suggested that beta–eudesmol interferes on colony nestmate recognition. As a consequence, colony cohesion may be disrupted and it could be used as an additional control tactic for this important pest ant.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Formicidae Atta sexdens rubropilosa (leaf-cutting ant)
Keywords: aggressive behavior, ant behavioral changes

Poster (.pdf format, 678.0 kb)