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The effect of diet on colony recognition and cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile

Citation

Tsutsui, Neil; van Wilgenburg, Ellen (2022), The effect of diet on colony recognition and cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.6078/D1070P

Abstract

The membership of social insect colonies is defined by chemical pheromones on the bodies of colony members. In nearly all ant species that have been studied, these pheromones have been shown to be genetically based. In some cases, however, environmentally derived odors have been implicated as colony recognition cues. The widely introduced and invasive Argentine ant is well known for forming massive “supercolonies” in its introduced ranges. Previous studies have implicated both genetic and diet-derived chemicals in the colony recognition systems of introduced populations. Here, we perform feeding experiments, in both realistic field settings and the lab, and show that dietary changes do not cause behavioral changes in the field, as well as under most laboratory conditions. However, one exception was found, in which reduced aggression was recorded in one of the laboratory feeding treatments (with crickets as the dietary item), but, nevertheless, not of sufficient magnitude to explain the unusual colony structure of introduced Argentine ants. We conclude that dietary shifts during introduction to new ranges do not account for the origin of Argentine ant supercolonies.

Usage Notes

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Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1557934/1557961

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Award: NRI-CGP 2004-3502-14865

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Award: Hatch project CA-B-INS-0087-H

California Structural Pest Control Board