Alarm communication in Ropalidia social wasps

Angelo Fortunato, F. R. Dani, M. F. Sledge, L. Fondelli, S. Turillazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alarm pheromones, chemical substances produced by social insects to alert the colony to threat, are the principal means by which colony defence is co-ordinated. We present the results of a study on alarm behaviour in 5 swarming species of wasps belonging to the genus Ropalidia. These species show a remarkably efficient strategy of alarm communication, including visual display and attack synchronization. We show that pheromones released from the venom gland play an important role in alarm recruitment in species belonging to the Ropalidia flavopicta group, but not in Ropalidia sumatrae. We analysed the contents of the venom reservoirs content of four of the studied species by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Glands were found to contain a complex mixture of volatile compounds as well as spiroacetals of higher molecular weight. Interestingly, despite all species producing similar chemical compounds from the venom gland, these were found to elicit alarm behaviour in only those species that build nest envelopes, suggesting a link between chemical release of alarm behaviour and the evolution of nest architecture in Ropalidia wasps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalInsectes Sociaux
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Ropalidia
wasp
animal communication
venoms
communication
venom
colony defense
nests
pheromone
alarm pheromones
swarming
chemical compounds
social insects
nest
volatile compounds
pheromones
Indonesia
chemical substance
social insect
chemical compound

Keywords

  • Alarm pheromones
  • Ropalidia
  • Spiroacetals
  • Wasps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

Cite this

Fortunato, A., Dani, F. R., Sledge, M. F., Fondelli, L., & Turillazzi, S. (2004). Alarm communication in Ropalidia social wasps. Insectes Sociaux, 51(3), 299-305. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-004-0744-2

Alarm communication in Ropalidia social wasps. / Fortunato, Angelo; Dani, F. R.; Sledge, M. F.; Fondelli, L.; Turillazzi, S.

In: Insectes Sociaux, Vol. 51, No. 3, 01.01.2004, p. 299-305.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fortunato, A, Dani, FR, Sledge, MF, Fondelli, L & Turillazzi, S 2004, 'Alarm communication in Ropalidia social wasps', Insectes Sociaux, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 299-305. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-004-0744-2
Fortunato A, Dani FR, Sledge MF, Fondelli L, Turillazzi S. Alarm communication in Ropalidia social wasps. Insectes Sociaux. 2004 Jan 1;51(3):299-305. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-004-0744-2
Fortunato, Angelo ; Dani, F. R. ; Sledge, M. F. ; Fondelli, L. ; Turillazzi, S. / Alarm communication in Ropalidia social wasps. In: Insectes Sociaux. 2004 ; Vol. 51, No. 3. pp. 299-305.
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