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Insects, Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2019)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) Ants deposit trail pheromones that guide nestmates to food sources. We predicted that ant community [...] Read more. Ants deposit trail pheromones that guide nestmates to food sources. We predicted that ant community members (ACMs; here, black garden ants, Western carpenter ants, European fire ants) (1) sense and follow each other’s trail pheromones, and (2) fail to recognize trail pheromones of allopatric ants. In electrophysiological recordings, ACMs primarily sensed each other’s trail pheromone. Garden ants followed a trail pheromone blend (comprising pheromones of both the ACMs and three allopatric ant species) for longer distances than their own trail pheromone, indicating an additive effect of con- and heterospecific pheromones in trail-following. The blend had no adverse effect on trail-following by other ACMs. Our data show that ACMs eavesdrop on each other’s trail pheromones, and that multiple pheromones can be combined in a lure that guides multiple species of pest ants to lethal food baits. View this paper