Kin recognition labels of young ant workers

  • Crosland M
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*[In the ant Rhytidoponera confusa, newly eclosed workers that are separated from their own colony & reared in nestmate groups for 31-81 days are attacked & often killed, when returned to their own colony. However, similar-aged young workers reared in their own colonies are only very mildly attacked by nestmates. This suggests that for this ant species special mechanisms (e.g. pheromones inhibiting aggression) may be necessary for the integration of newly eclosed workers into their own colonies. Possible explanations are considered for why young workers reared in isolation are attacked by nestmates. Explanations regarding low relatedness, Gestalt odor, queen odor, ovary development, & environmental odor differences between cages can probably be discounted. Instead, evidence supports a little-tested hypothesis originally suggested by AFielde (1905) that young workers may have different odors to older workers.]

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  • M. W.J. Crosland

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