modulators. They have since been ritualized into specialized signals employed in specific contexts, usually in combination with other signals such as trail or alarm pheromones (27).


In most social insects, interactions between conspecific adults from different colonies are quite aggressive. Such behavior is considered to be adaptive, as workers obtain inclusive fitness benefits from aiding kin and discriminating against non-kin, and nestmates are usually more closely related to one another than to members of neighboring colonies. The semiochemicals involved in recognition at the colony level are simultaneously specific and anonymous. That is, workers are able to discriminate between nestmates and intruders, but they also tend to treat all nestmates as fellow colony members, irrespective of their true relatedness. This anonymity among genetically varied nestmates does not preclude specificity at the within-colony level. Generally, though, it appears that workers encountering one another in the context of territorial defense or nest guarding respond to chemical labels that indicate colony membership, rather than directly indicating kin. Especially species with larger colonies are characterized by a more or less homogeneous recognition signal or "colony odor," specific between colonies but anonymous throughout each colony. The sources of nestmate recognition signals in social insects have recently received a great deal of attention (for partial reviews see refs. 2, 3, 28, and 29), and several investigators paid special attention to possible colony-specific profiles of cuticular hydrocarbons (i.e., refs. 30-33). Obviously, to achieve such a high degree of specificity, such recognition labels must be rather complex, multicomponent signals. However, there exists no conclusive proof yet that the implied colony-specific hydrocarbon patterns serve as nestmate recognition labels, nor is it possible yet to develop a unified concept of the sociobiological foundations of nestmate recognition. The current results indicate that the behavioral mechanisms underlying nestmate recognition vary with the specific social organizations of the societies.

In monogynous (only one queen is present) carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.), for example, nestmates are distinguished by chemical labels acquired from a variety of sources, functioning in a hierarchical order of significance (2, 3, 34, 35). Workers removed as pupae from a colony and reared separately, in the absence of queens, are relatively tolerant of one another, but exhibit stronger aggressive behavior toward nonrelatives. Diet differences slightly enhance aggression among separately reared kin. If a queen is present, however, workers attack both unfamiliar kin and non-kin with equal violence, a response which is unaffected by food

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