Its ecology may explain the low amount hundreds of picograms of trail-following pheromone present in sternal glands of I. It is known that an epigeous structure initially houses the colony of C. The back and forth movement of workers from the initial nest to the new one under construction clearly involves the use of a trail-pheromone.
It has also been showed that I. It seems probable that the invasion of the inquiline starts by penetration of an I. The identical chemical nature of the trail-following pheromone of both species may help imagoes of I. Trail following by cohabitants to migrate between nests was already observed in lycaenid caterpillars and their host ants see . Some staphylinid termitophiles are also able to follow trails laid by their termite hosts, hypothetically not only to locate their resource the termites , but also to locate their few conspecifics .
This study showed that I. Conversely, C. These results may be due to the quantity of pheromone being higher in C. These behavioural results might be linked to the size of the sternal gland being larger in C. We cannot exclude that minor compounds present in the sternal gland secretion of C. The U-turn behaviour performed by I. This hypothetical compound is obviously not present in the sternal gland secretion, and may originate either from the enlarged mandibular glands of workers  or from the faeces of C.
Moreover, powerful repellents are expected in open-air foraging termites to minimize predation upon them. Chemical repellence has been already reported as effective against mammalian termite predators . The strategy used by the inquiline is to build its nest inside the host nest with no connection between the two nests thereby minimizing probable conflicts. Due to its comparable body size, the host could probably penetrate inquiline gallery system and kill all inhabitants based on its numerical dominance, if the inquiline would not able to detect gaps in the nest by using the trail-following pheromone of the host.
Inquilinitermes microcerus can rely on the chemical cues of C. Another possibility could be the use by I. A low concentration of the trail-following pheromone due to a breach that needs to be sealed by the inquiline may be considered as a low level threat and may trigger investigation for I.
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In contrast, a high concentration encountered when an important breach is created into the nest or when the inquiline digs into chambers with relatively fresh and potentially infectious corpses, may induce a quick retreat in I. This could explain the different results between whole body and sternal gland extracts in Fig. In short, our results seem consistent with the hypothesis that trail-following pheromones may shape the cohabitation of C. This is the first study evaluating chemical communication between two closely associated termite species.
It seems evident that the inquiline is able to use the host's chemical cues to evade detection within the nest. While strictly in line with previous findings that cohabitation by this same pair of species is eased by the use of distinct diets  , our results reinforce the idea that inquilinism by I. We thank Dr. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. PLoS One. Published online Jan Judith Korb, Editor. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Received Jul 4; Accepted Dec 4. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly credited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Introduction A wide variety of species adopt the strategy to live in close association to each other, establishing symbiotic interactions see e. Study site, Collection and Maintenance Arboreal nests of C.
Intraspecific trail-following Workers of C. Open in a separate window. Figure 1.
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Schematic design of trail-following bioassays: Choice test made with Y-shape trail-following bioassay A and no-choice test made with linear bioassay B. Hexane was used as a control, and was never followed by termites. Values with the same letters indicate non-significance in Contrast Analyses under Normal distribution.
Interspecific trail-following Interspecific trail-following bioassays were performed to test i the orientation on trails made with their own extract conspecific, CS vs. Statistical analyses All analyses utilized Generalized Linear Models GLM , choosing error distribution according to the nature of the response variable, as described below. Results Anatomy of sternal glands Sternal glands of both species are located on the anterior part of the 5th sternite Fig.
Figure 2. Worker sternal glands of Constrictotermes cyphergaster A and Inquilinitermes microcerus B. Trail-following activity of I.
Interspecific trail-following bioassays Choice test In choice tests, the interspecific trail-following bioassays showed that workers of C. Figure 3. Trail recognition by Constrictotermes cyphergaster and its inquiline Inquilinitermes microcerus. No-choice test In no-choice tests, workers of C.
Figure 4. Avoidance of Constrictotermes cyphergaster trails by its inquiline Inquilinitermes microcerus. Discussion Trail-following pheromones and their activities Based on trail-following bioassays and chemical analyses, we confirmed that neocembrene and dodecatrienol are the major compounds of the trail-following pheromone of C. Interspecific trail following: How does trail following shape the relationships between C.
Acknowledgments We thank Dr. References 1. Kistner DH Social and evolutionary significance of social insect symbionts. In: Hermann HR, editor.
Everything We Know About Pheromones and Attraction Is Probably Wrong
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Everything We Know About Pheromones and Attraction Is Probably Wrong | MEL Magazine
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Insectes Soc 51 : — Mol Phylogenet Evol 44 : — Mol Phylogenet Evol 48 : — Abe T Evolution of life types in termites. Evolution and coadaptation in biotic communities. Researchers said this new information might also explain the symbiosis that takes place between bacteria and the human body. Initially, Pupo's team was investigating for microbes that protect the ants from parasitic bacteria.
The researchers collected samples from ant colonies , including the queen, and isolated and cultured the bacteria from the ants. We don't know for sure if their synthesis is shared: maybe the microorganism produces the aromatic compounds and the ants store them in their glands," Pupo said.
The researchers used a special fiber material typically used in culture plates. The samples were then analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. As it turned out, other ant species also use pyrazine for different purposes. Fire ants or Solenopsis invicta use it for signaling against enemies, while the Madagascan ant Eutetramorium mocquerysi uses it as a trail sign. Lead author Eduardo Afonso da Silva Junior explained that when the bacteria were cultured in the lab, it released a smell that is similar to that of the ants.
Pupo added that Leucoagaricus gongylophorous, the fungal species on which the ants feed, thrive in the leaves they carry in their nests. Pupo said they will continue exploring possibilities by removing the bacteria from the ant's body and then observing if it will produce pyrazine by itself.
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