Chemical Pheromone Communication between Ants

pheromone-communication

Ants can produce scented chemicals also known as pheromones. Ants create pheromones from glands found all over their bodies. Their pheromones are used to communicate with their family.

Pheromones are detected at the tips of the ants super sensitive antennae, the left and right antennae tell the ant which way to turn with the varying pheromone strength. Ants that have missing or damaged antennae become very disorientated.

There are about ten to twenty different (species dependant) pheromone perfumes, each represents a ‘chemical word’ that the entire colony understand. Pheromones can be used to summon a few ants to thousands of ants, depending on what is required. This may be the attacking of prey, the defending of the colony, the location of a sweet food source or the relocation of the colony, it works very well.

When an ant is squashed it releases a different pheromone that warns the others of potential danger.

Pheromones also help ants to distinguish between different family members, nest mates and strangers. The queen ant also has special pheromones that lets workers know her current status, and weather or not they need to begin raising new princesses and drones.

In the video below, Edward O. Wilson explains how fire ants use pheromones to communicate.

@ Lord of the Ants