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J Chem Ecol. 2007 Nov;33(11):2054-63. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Species-specific leaf volatile compounds of obligate Macaranga myrmecophytes and host-specific aggressiveness of symbiotic Crematogaster ants.

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Department of Arts and Sciences, Faculty of Education, Osaka Kyoiku University, 4-698-1 Asahigaoka, Kashiwara, Osaka, 582-8582, Japan.


Macaranga myrmecophytes harbor species-specific Crematogaster ants that defend host trees from herbivores. We examined ant aggressive behaviors when artificially damaged leaf pieces from another tree were offered to four sympatric species of obligate Macaranga myrmecophytes. The ants showed aggressive behavior in response to leaf pieces regardless of the leaf species; however, aggressiveness was higher when conspecific leaf pieces were offered than when nonhost species were offered. Thus, ants can recognize leaf damage and distinguish among damaged leaf species. Chemical analyses of volatile compounds emitted from damaged leaves that may induce ant defense showed that the composition of the minor compounds differed among the four Macaranga species, although there were many compounds in common.

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