A joint research team* from Nara Women's University and others has discovered a component in the body surface substances of native ants that induces aggressive repelling behavior in invasive ants such as Argentine ants and fire ants, as if they were encountering a powerful enemy.It is expected to be an effective measure for controlling nuisance ants.

 Along with globalization, invasion, colonization, and breeding of invasive ants are progressing on a global scale.In Japan, the Argentine ant has expanded its habitat, and there have been multiple reports of the highly toxic fire ant invasion, raising concerns about economic damage and impact on the ecosystem.At present, the main method of extermination is by spraying insecticides, but because of its extraordinary reproductive power, the burden of countermeasures is heavy.

 Therefore, the research group focused on repellents.We thought that the development of a non-toxic repellent with a "virtual enemy effect" that takes advantage of the ant's instinct to distinguish friend from foe would be a new trump card for controlling invasive ants.

 The Japanese carpenter ant is a common species endemic to Japan.This time, the research group detected (Z)-9-tricosene as a minor component by synthesis or other means from all the hydrocarbon components secreted on the body surface of this ant.It was shown that this ingredient acts as a safe, strong and long-lasting repellent against Argentine ants and fire ants.

 Through the elucidation of the neurobehavioral mechanism, when this component is detected as a phantom odor suggesting the existence of a powerful "virtual enemy" against Argentine ants and fire ants, the action of "fight or flight" is observed. I speculated that the switch was switched to the fleeing side, causing voluntary avoidance behavior.

 In addition, the dose that caused repellent behavior in Argentine ants and fire ants did not have repellent effect on native ants.Therefore, unlike existing insecticides, (Z)-9-tricosene is expected to be useful for environmentally friendly control and reinfestation prevention by targeting infesting ants without compromising biodiversity. .

* Kobe University, Kyoto Prefectural University, University of Tsukuba, National University of Taiwan, and Tel Aviv University also participated.

Paper information:【Frontiers in Physiology】Chemical identification of an active component and putative neural mechanism for repellent effect of a native ant's odor on invasive species

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