Powerful sense of smell enables ants to identify fellow-ants

Findings of a new study have showed that ants are blessed with powerful sense of smell that helps them sense the chemical present on the cuticle of individuals to flawlessly identify the different members of their society.

"Using this amazing high-definition ability to smell ant body odor, the ants can recognize the various castes in the colony as well as intruders from another colony. This broad-spectrum ability to detect hydrocarbons is unusual and is probably a special property of social insects", said Dr. Ray said.

A powerful electrophysiology method was used by Dr. Ray and co-authors to conduct tests on hydrocarbons present on the worker and queen cuticles that have previously been the subject of pheromone signs.

The researchers said they investigated the detection of cuticular hydrocarbons by female-specific olfactory sensilla basiconica on the antenna of Florida carpenter by employing electrophysiology.

The researchers said the ability is really great given the fact that it helps them recognize their closed ones within the crowded colony.

It is amazing to see such a remarkable evolutionary solution for social networking in large colonies. The study showed that ants are not only adept at responding to the presence or absence of particular hydrocarbons, but also to the particular way in which various hydrocarbons are blended.

Odds are high that pheromones serve the purpose of a chemical barcode, helping individuals in a colony to recognize other members within the nest. They also figure out the status as workers or queens.

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