1126 Necrophoric behavior of Argentine ants

Wednesday, November 19, 2008: 10:53 AM
Room A2, First Floor (Reno-Sparks Convention Center)
Dong-Hwan Choe , Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management (ESPM), University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Jocelyn G. Millar , University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA
Michael K. Rust , Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA
One of the most conspicuous nest cleaning activities of ants is the stereotypic removal of dead nestmates from their nest. Most studies so far suggest that chemical cues of the ant corpse release necrophoric behavior. Decomposition products such as oleic acid and other unsaturated fatty acids are known to initiate corpse-removal behavior in several ant species. Laboratory study indicated that Argentine ants respond differently toward freshly killed nestmates and aged corpses. However, the fresh-killed ants eventually carried out from the nest within 30 min after introduction into the nest. Thus, we hypothesized that live ant workers already have enough titers of necrophoric cues in their body, but those cues may be rapidly exposed or some other competing odors rapidly disappear after death. Supporting bioassay and chemical analysis data will be presented and possible exploitation of the necrophoric cues will be discussed.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.36619