Trail pheromones and Dufour gland contents in three Camponotus species (C. castaneus, C. balzani, C. sericeiventris: Formicidae, Hymenoptera)

Eva Kohl, Bert Hölldobler, Hans Jürgen Bestmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


By means of gas chromatography, gas chromatographic coupled mass spectrometry and behavioral analysis the major trail pheromone components from the hindgut of the formicine species Camponotus castaneus, C. balzani and C. sericeiventris were identified. The trail pheromone of C. castaneus is 3,5-dimethyl-6-(1′-methyl-propyl)-tetrahydro-2H-pyran-2-one, and that of the other two species is 3,4-dihydro-8-hydroxy-3,5,7-trimethylisocoumarin. Although both compounds release precise trail following behavior in the respective species, the major recruitment signal in the three Camponotus species appears to be formic acid discharged from the poison gland. The composition of the Dufour gland secretions of C. castaneus and C. sericeiventris is similar, but that of the hypertrophied Dufour gland of C. balzani is very different from any other Camponotus Dufour gland content described up to date: it contains large amounts of esters, the major compound of which is octyl hexanoate, which makes up 97% a/a of the total volatiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • Carpenter ants
  • Communication
  • Dufour gland
  • Formic acid
  • Hindgut contents
  • Multicomponent signals
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry

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