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Chemical communication in Ropalidia marginata: Dufour's gland contains queen signal that is perceived across colonies and does not contain colony signal

Mitra, Aniruddha and Saha, Paromita and Chaoulideer, Maximilian Elihu and Bhadra, Anindita and Gadagkar, Raghavendra (2011) Chemical communication in Ropalidia marginata: Dufour's gland contains queen signal that is perceived across colonies and does not contain colony signal. In: Journal of Insect Physiology, 57 (2). pp. 280-284.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.11.014


Queens of the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata appear to maintain reproductive monopoly through pheromone rather than through physical aggression. Upon queen removal, one of the workers (potential queen, PQ) becomes extremely aggressive but drops her aggression immediately upon returning the queen. If the queen is not returned, the PQ gradually drops her aggression and becomes the next queen of the colony. In a previous study, the Dufour's gland was found to be at least one source of the queen pheromone. Queen-worker classification could be done with 100% accuracy in a discriminant analysis, using the compositions of their respective Dufour's glands. In a bioassay, the PQ dropped her aggression in response to the queen's Dufour's gland macerate, suggesting that the queen's Dufour's gland contents mimicked the queen herself. In the present study, we found that the PQ also dropped her aggression in response to the macerate of a foreign queen's Dufour's gland. This suggests that the queen signal is perceived across colonies. This also suggests that the Dufour's gland in R. marginata does not contain information about nestmateship, because queens are attacked when introduced into foreign colonies, and hence PQ is not expected to reduce her aggression in response to a foreign queen's signal. The latter conclusion is especially significant because the Dufour's gland chemicals are adequate to classify individuals correctly not only on the basis of fertility status (queen versus worker) but also according to their colony membership, using discriminant analysis. This leads to the additional conclusion (and precaution) that the ability to statistically discriminate organisms using their chemical profiles does not necessarily imply that the organisms themselves can make such discrimination. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Science.
Keywords: Ropalidia marginata;Dufour's gland;Queen pheromone;Nestmate discrimination;Bioassay
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2011 07:34
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2011 07:34
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/36014

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