Constituents of mandibular and Dufour's glands of an australian Polyrhachis weaver ant

T. Bellas, B. Hölldobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Worker ants of Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) ?doddi collectively discharge the secretions of their large mandibular glands when their nest is disturbed. The major glandular compounds of workers are 6-methylhept-5-en-2-one and phenylacetaldehyde oxime. Other components identified are mellein, 6-methylhept-5-en-2-one oxime, phenylacetonitrile, phenyiacetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, and several alkanes and alkenes. The mandibular gland secretions of queens differ from those of workers only quantitatively. Large queens have considerably more of most components, the small queens have much less of volatile components. There is a pronounced sexual difference: the major components of the male's secretions are octanoic acid and mellein, with geranic acid, 8-heptadecene, 2-methylbutanoic acid, and 9-nonadecene present in lesser amounts. Workers of P. ?doddi also have unusually large Dufour's glands containing a large array of hydrocarbons, of which tridecane is the major component, but α-farnesene, pentadecane, and heptadecene are also present in large quantities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-538
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • 6-methylhept-5-en-2-one
  • Dufour's glands
  • Formicidae
  • Hymenoptera
  • Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) ?doddi
  • benzaldehyde
  • defensive secretions
  • mandibular glands
  • mellein
  • nitrile
  • oximes
  • phenylacetaldehyde

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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