Behavior and Chemical Signals as Markers of Colony Identification in Argentine Ants (Linepithema Humile)
Term of Award
Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Biology
Committee Member 1
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.
Rohrbach, Stephanie A., "Behavior and Chemical Signals as Markers of Colony Identification in Argentine Ants (Linepithema Humile)" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2508.
Research Data and Supplementary Material