Conserved male-specific cuticular hydrocarbon patterns in the trap-jaw ant Odontomachus brunneus

Adrian A. Smith, Whitney Vanderpool, Jocelyn G. Millar, Lawrence M Hanks, Andrew Suarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cuticular hydrocarbons have been identified as the source of sex-recognition signals for many insects, but for social insects, specifically ants, cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of males are often ignored. This study reports male-specific cuticular hydrocarbon patterns for the trap-jaw ant Odontomachus brunneus. Analysis of samples from four Florida populations demonstrated that male-specific overabundance of four hydrocarbons is conserved across populations despite population-level divergence of the remainder of the profile. In addition, hydrocarbon patterns unique to adult males were not present on the cuticle of final instar male larvae, indicating that male-specific profiles arise late in development. The pattern of an abundant subset of conserved cuticular hydrocarbons characteristic of males across divergent populations was compared to earlier findings of the conservation of fertility signals of females across these same populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Male signal
  • Phenotypic variation
  • Pheromone
  • Sex pheromone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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