ical or biochemical trait that is functional in another context acquires a secondary value as a signal.
The evolution of specificity in a multicomponent signal described above can be interpreted as chemical ritualization, whereby increasingly functional specificity could derive from the biochemical ''noise" in an ancestral anonymous signal and ritualization of specific variation is likewise possible with chemicals that initially were uninvolved in communication. For example, species-specific trail pheromones from the poison glands of myrmicine ants are generally the metabolic by-products of venom synthesis (11), while the Dufour's gland hydrocarbons of formicines sprayed together with formic acid may enhance its spread and penetration. In fact, the evolutionary process of ritualization appears to have played an important role in the evolution of diverse modes of communication behavior in ant societies and is closely connected with the evolution of modulatory communication. Communication in complex social systems is not always characterized by a deterministic releasing process but sometimes plays a more subtle role. For example, in a group of ant workers certain communication signals suffice to adjust the behavior of group mates towards one another. These signals have the effect of shifting the probability for the performance of other behavioral acts, but they do not elicit particular behavioral responses. We have called this kind of communication system "modulatory communication" (22, 23). Modulatory signals are devices for shifting the threshold for the releasing effectiveness of other stimuli, thus enhancing the behavioral response to them. In this sense, the orientation-inducer pheromone in Solenopsis may also be called a modulatory signal (9).
In only a few cases has a statistical information analysis of modulatory communication been carried out; circumstantial evidence suggests, however, that it is widespread in insect societies. These more rigorously analyzed cases of modulatory communication concerned situations in which one signal modulates another of a different modality (22, 23). For example, in A. cockerelli or A. albisetosus a forager, after discovering a prey object too large to be carried or dragged by a single ant, releases poison gland secretion into the air. Nestmates as far away as 2 m are attracted and move toward the source. When a sufficient number of foragers have assembled around the prey, they gang-carry it swiftly to the nest. Time is of the essence, because Aphaenogaster must remove food from the scene before formidable mass-recruiting competitors, including fire ants and Forelius pruinosus, arrive in large numbers. Aphaenogaster workers, in addition to releasing the poison gland pheromone, also regularly stridulate at the prey object. Ants perceiving the substrate-borne signals start to encircle the prey sooner, and they are likely to release the attractive poison gland pheromone earlier. Overall, both the recruitment of workers