Sensing Friend or Foe

Science's STKE  12 Jul 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 292, pp. tw261
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2922005tw261

Ants secrete and recognize specific blends of hydrocarbons in the cuticle, which enables them to display aggressive behavior toward non-nestmates. This identification process is thought to occur at a higher neural level. Ozaki et al. have found chemosensory sensilla in the ant antenna that respond to cuticle hydrocarbon blends from non-nestmates and have identified a protein that may carry the compounds to sensory receptors in the sensilla. This finding suggests that chemical information is also processed peripherally.

M. Ozaki, A. Wada-Katsumata, K. Fujikawa, M. Iwasaki, F. Yokohari, Y. Satoji, T. Nisimura, R. Yamaoka, Ant nestmate and non-nestmate discrimination by a chemosensory sensillum. Science 309, 311-314 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]