|MadSci Network: Zoology|
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 References: 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.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Zoology.