Chemical studies on exocrine gland secretions and pheromones of some social insects.
The contents of various exocrine glands from 8 species of bumblebees
(representing 5 subgenera) and 16 species of ants (representing 5 subfamilies and 8 genera)
have been examined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.
A close correspondence between the Dufour gland secretions and cuticular
hydrocarbon patterns of several bumblebee species has been discovered. However, this
similarity was not found to be universal for the Bombus genus.
The mandibular gland secretions of two entire colonies of the primitive queenless
ant Dinoponera australis have been examined. A blend of tri- and novel tetrasubstituted
pyrazines have been identified, and a link has been found between worker function and the
total amount of secretion in each individual.
An investigation into the chemistry of army ants of the genus Aenictus has led to
the first identification of an army ant pheromone. The trail pheromone, produced by postpygidial
glands, was determined to consist of a mixture of methyl nicotinate and methyl
The short and long-range recruitment pheromones of the closely related ants
Aphaenogaster albisetosus and A. cockerelli have been identified as 4-methyl-3-heptanone
(80% (S)-, 20% (R)-) and (R)-l-phenylethanol, originating from their respective poison
The recruitment pheromones of Pogonomyrmex barbatus, P. maricopa, P.
occidentalis and P. rugosus have been identified as a mixture of 2,5-dimethylpyrazine,
trimethylpyrazine and 3-ethyl-2,5-dimethylpyrazine.