MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Can Queen ants communicate with their colony and how?

Date: Thu Jul 13 16:01:02 2000
Posted By: Danise Coar, Staff, Research, Development and Engineering, Philip Morris USA
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 962184998.Zo

An excellent question and suggestion for further study but I think a few  
entomologists beat you to the punch.  A fair amount of research has 
already been conducted on communication between ants.

Ants and other insects produce many secretions for offense, defense and 
communication both inside and outside the nest.  These compound are made 
by various glands and emitted from the ants' bodies.   There is 
communication through use of these secretions throughout the colony.  

In general, there are several categories of chemicals odors produced by 
insects called semiochemicals.  They include sex pheromones, courtship 
pheromones, aggregation pheromones, trail marking pheromones, spacing 
pheromones, and alarm pheromones.  Females and males communicate with sex 
and courtship pheromones while aggregation pheromones cause both sexes to 
congregate in one area.  Spacing pheromones keep the insects from getting 
too close when laying eggs, etc.   Trail marking pheromones give 
directions to the nest and food sources.  

Take a look at the links below for more information on ant behavior.

Entomology Student Paper

Ant Colony

Check your local library for the following books:
1. The Ants by Bert Holldobler, Edward Osborne Wilson 
2. The Insect Societies; Edward Osborne Wilson
3. Journey to the Ants : A Story of Scientific Exploration; Bert 
Holldobler, Edward Osborne Wilson

Gullan, P.J. and P.S. Cranston.  The Insects: An Outline of Entomology.  
1994.  Chapman and Hall.

Borror, D.J., D.M. DeLong and C.A. Triplehorn.  An Introduction to the 
Study of Insects.  1981.  Saunders College Publishing.

Current Queue | Current Queue for Zoology | Zoology archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Zoology.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2000. All rights reserved.