Term of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Joshua Gibson

Committee Member 1

Alan Harvey

Committee Member 2

Mohammed Abid Shaikh


Argentine ants, Linepithema humile, are a highly successful invasive species around the globe and are especially prominent in states such as California and the southeastern United States. L.humile have a unique form of unicoloniality, called “supercolonies”. L. humile can detect colonymates through scent markers in their outer cuticle. With these chemical markers, ants will exhibit high aggression if they smell different from one another. In our study, we performed aggression assays among ten different nest sites and analyzed their CHCs through gas chromatography mass spectrometry, or GC-MS, analysis. For our behavior results, while within-nest interactions displayed low aggression as we expected, we also observed one potential colony composed of three of the collected nests. Through GC-MS Analysis, we were able to detect 58 unique CHC compounds within the ten nests samples but were not able to determine any statistically significant patterns among the data to help further explain the unexpected behavior seen between nests that were friendly towards one another, despite being far in distance. We were able to observe that the samples collected show high variation not only between the nests collected, but between samples derived from within the same nest. The high variation present in our study may indicate that the colonies in Georgia present a more complex relationship between CHCs and colony identity than seen with other introduced colonies such as California, and that it is likely that some much smaller subset of these CHC compounds are involved in colony recognition.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material