Fine tuning of social integration by two myrmecophiles of the ponerine army ant, leptogenys distinguenda

Hashim, Rosli and Schulz, S. and Witte, V. and Foitzik, S. and Maschwitz, U. (2009) Fine tuning of social integration by two myrmecophiles of the ponerine army ant, leptogenys distinguenda. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 35 (3). pp. 355-367. ISSN 0098-0331

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Abstract

Myrmecophiles are animals that live in close association with ants and that frequently develop elaborate mechanisms to infiltrate their well-defended host societies. We compare the social integration strategies of two myrmecophilic species, the spider, Gamasomorpha maschwitzi, and the newly described silverfish, Malayatelura ponerophila gen. n. sp. n., into colonies of the ponerine army ant, Leptogenys distinguenda (Emery) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Both symbionts use chemical mimicry through adoption of host cuticular hydrocarbons. Exchange experiments between L. distinguenda and an undetermined Leptogenys species demonstrate that reduced aggression toward alien ants and increased social acceptance occurred with individuals of higher chemical similarity in their cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. We found striking differences in chemical and behavioral strategies between the two myrmecophiles. Spider cuticular hydrocarbon profiles were chemically less similar to the host than silverfish profiles were. Nevertheless, spiders received significantly fewer attacks from host ants and survived longer in laboratory colonies, whereas silverfish were treated with high aggression and were killed more frequently. When discovered and confronted by the host, silverfish tended to escape and were chased aggressively, whereas spiders remained in contact with the confronting host ant until aggression ceased. Thus, spiders relied less on chemical mimicry but were nevertheless accepted more frequently by the host on the basis of behavioral mechanisms. These findings give insights into the fine tuning of social integration mechanisms and show the significance of qualitative differences among strategies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science Building, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ants; Chemical mimicry; Cuticular hydrocarbons; Gamasomorpha maschwitzi; Hymenoptera; Formicidae; Malayatelura ponerophila; Myrmecophiles; Nestmate recognition; Silverfish; Social integration; Spiders
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Institute of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: Miss Malisa Diana
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2013 05:02
Last Modified: 31 May 2019 04:40
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/8329

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