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Thesis Abstract – Whorton (2007)


Phermones in harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex)

Author and college:

Derek Whorton, Claremont McKenna College


Spring 2007


Bachelor of Arts


Thomas Poon, Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges


pheromone structures

Research on various members of the genus Pogonomyrmex, commonly know as Harvester ants, has illustrated convergent recruitment pheromone components as well as determined species-specific ratios of these compounds that induce the same level of behavioral response. The major recruitment pheromones for these select Pogonomyrmex spp. have been identified as methylpyrazine (MP), dimethylpyrazine (DMP), 2,3,5-trimethylpyrazine (TMP) and 3-ethyl-2,5-dimethylpyrazine (EDMP). The recruitment pheromones of the California harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex californicus) have not been studied prior to this investigation. This paper reports a new headspace injection technique using GC/MS that has characterized the previously known alarm pheromone, (S)-4-methyl-3-hepatanone, and an undocumented recruitment pheromone (TMP) volatilized from solid biological specimens of P. californicus. In addition, limitations inherent to this methodology as well as future directions are discussed, including novel uses of solid-phase microextraction (SPME).

For more information:

Contact Thomas Poon – tpoon@kecksci.claremont.edu

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