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Science 309 (5732): 311-314

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Ant Nestmate and Non-Nestmate Discrimination by a Chemosensory Sensillum

Mamiko Ozaki,1*{dagger} Ayako Wada-Katsumata,1* Kazuyo Fujikawa,1 Masayuki Iwasaki,2 Fumio Yokohari,2 Yuji Satoji,1 Tomoyosi Nisimura,1 Ryohei Yamaoka1

Abstract: In animal societies, chemical communication plays an important role in conflict and cooperation. For ants, cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) blends produced by non-nestmates elicit overt aggression. We describe a sensory sensillum on the antennae of the carpenter ant Camponotus japonicus that functions in nestmate discrimination. This sensillum is multiporous and responds only to non-nestmate CHC blends. This suggests a role for a peripheral recognition mechanism in detecting colony-specific chemical signals.

1 Department of Applied Biology, Faculty of Textile Science, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Matsugasaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8585, Japan.
2 Department of Earth System Science, Faculty of Science, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mamiko{at}

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