University of Sussex
Trail pheromone modulates subjective reward evaluation.pdf (521.69 kB)

Trail pheromone modulates subjective reward evaluation in Argentine ants

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posted on 2024-05-14, 15:16 authored by Natacha RossiNatacha Rossi, Muriel Pereyra, Mariel A Moauro, Martin Giurfa, Patrizia D'Ettorre, Roxana Josens

The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, is native to South America but has become one of the most invasive species in the world. These ants heavily rely on trail pheromones for foraging, and previous studies have focused on such signals to develop a strategy for chemical control. Here, we studied the effects of pre-exposure to the trail pheromone on sugar acceptance and olfactory learning in Argentine ants. We used the synthetic trail pheromone component (Z)-9-hexadecenal, which triggers the same attraction and trail following behavior as the natural trail pheromone. We found that preexposure to (Z)-9-hexadecenal increases the acceptance of sucrose solutions of different concentrations, thus changing the ants' subjective evaluation of a food reward. However, although ants learned to associate an odor with a sucrose reward, pheromone preexposure affected neither the learning nor the mid-term memory of the odor-reward association. Taking into account the importance of the Argentine ant as a pest and invasive organism, our results highlight the importance of pheromonal cues in resource evaluation, a fact that could be useful in control strategies implemented for this species.


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Journal of Experimental Biology




The Company of Biologists





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University of Sussex

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