Navigation Links
How social insects recognize dead nestmates

RIVERSIDE, Calif. When an ant dies in an ant nest or near one, its body is quickly picked up by living ants and removed from the colony, thus limiting the risk of colony infection by pathogens from the corpse.

The predominant understanding among entomologists scientists who study insects was that dead ants release chemicals created by decomposition (such as fatty acids) that signal their death to the colony's living ants.

But now UC Riverside entomologists working on Argentine ants provide evidence for a different mechanism for how necrophoresis the removal of dead nestmates from colonies works.

In a research paper published online this week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that all ants, both living and dead, have the "death chemicals" continually, but live ants have them along with other chemicals associated with life the "life chemicals." When an ant dies, its life chemicals dissipate or are degraded, and only the death chemicals remain.

"It's because the dead ant no longer smells like a living ant that it gets carried to the graveyard, not because its body releases new, unique chemicals after death," said Dong-Hwan Choe, the lead author of the research paper and a graduate student working towards his doctoral degree with Michael Rust, a professor of entomology at UCR.

Choe explained that the research paper's results resolve a conundrum of long-standing in animal behavior and correct a misinterpretation of previous results that has become both popular and widespread in literature.

"There is no mistaking that it is the dissipation of chemical signals associated with life rather than the increase of a decomposition product 'death cue' that triggers necrophoric behavior by Argentine ants," he said.

Along with Rust and UCR's Jocelyn Millar, a professor of entomology, Choe used analytical chemistry techniques to identify the "signals of life" in the Argentine ant: the chemicals dolichodial and iridomyrmecin.

"These chemicals, or compounds similar to them, are found in numerous ant species that display necrophoresis," Choe said. "Therefore, these ant species also are likely to have necrophoric behavior triggered by the decrease or absence of chemical signs of life, rather than by cues associated with death. We plan to research this next."

He added that dolichodal, iridomyrmecin, or similar compounds are found also in other insects, such as thrips, stick insects, aphids and rove beetles.

"Understanding the exact mechanism of ant necrophoresis will help researchers develop a more environmentally friendly pest management strategy by which we can achieve results with smaller amounts of insecticide," Choe said. "A recent study on Argentine ants that we did in the lab indicated that nestmates can efficiently distribute slow-acting and non-repellent insecticides among themselves via necrophoresis. When an ant exposed to an insecticide dies in the nest, other ants carry its body around, with the insecticide transferring easily from the corpse to healthy ants."


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

Related medicine news :

1. Dynasplint Systems, Inc. Launches Two New Web Sites Plus Social Media Tools
2. Fast-Track of Socialized Healthcare Imminent
3. Locum Leaders Links Physicians to New Jobs and Clinical Education Through Social Media
4. New Social Media Site Launches for the Fertility-Focused:
5. The ICEcard Combines Peace of Mind and Social Responsibility in One Handy Card: Families Prepare for Emergencies While Supporting Worthy Causes
6. DavisPTnetwork, A Professional Social Network for Physical Therapists, Reaches Over 500 Members
7. The Social Security Institute Launches Web Site, Inaugurates Campaign to Prevent Nationalization of Healthcare
8. More Social Security Disability Applicants Are Seeking Representation
9. New National Online Survey Says Bipolar Depressive Symptoms Have Impact on Day-To-Day Tasks as Well as Social Activities(1)
10. Social Security Attorney Directory Helps to Speed SSDI Benefits
11. Occupational Therapists Use Sensory Integration to Help Autistic Children Find Fitting Social Behaviors
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
How social insects recognize dead nestmates
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... as a Modern Man for 2015. , Angeleno Magazine is a division ... States. Established in 1994, Modern Luxury includes more than 50 magazine titles across ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... Center Enterprise Authorized Technology Provider (ATP) status from Cisco. This designation recognizes Tympani ... support Cisco Unified Contact Center solutions targeted to the high-end enterprise contact center ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... Beard and Brooke Bennett are collaborating with brands across various categories through traditional ... influential figures make up an elite group of Gold Medal Moms who can ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... & Caicos Islands, BWI (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... 2015. Recently Caribbean Journal, one of the leading digital news sites highlighting Caribbean ... top reason? The weather. While much of North America shivers under chilly grey ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Garden City, NY (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... as a 2015-2016 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She ... is the nation’s leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting more than 850,000 ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... , BANGALORE, India and ... -- Mylan N.V. (NASDAQ, TASE: MYL) today announced that it ... approval and for developing country markets funded by international ... 300 mg + Efavirenz 400 mg) for $99 per ... Access Initiative (CHAI) to develop TLE400. The significantly reduced ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... diciembre de 2015  AccuTEC Blades, una ... precisión, develó hoy un nuevo logo corporativo ... El nuevo logo destaca la experiencia de ... de productos con cuchillas donde "el borde ... --> ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015 Breg, Inc ., a premier ... that it has been awarded three contracts by Novation, ... Novation will have access to improved pricing for Breg,s ... soft goods dedicated to advancing orthopedic care.  ... U.S. population, rising prevalence of chronic conditions and the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: