Trail and Territorial Communication in Social Insects

  • James F. A. Traniello
  • Simon K. Robson


The social properties of insect colonies are sometimes described in seemingly contradictory terms. As pinnacles of biological complexity they are superorganisms and their emergent, colony-level characteristics are often referred to in terms of their elaborate and sophisticated nature. Yet the mechanisms that mediate social interactions and group phenomena, after empirical or theoretical analysis, are simple and parsimonious. This complexity-mediated-by-simplicity paradigm provides a heuristic approach to the analysis of the basic behavioral characteristics of the individual members of an insect society and the regulatory mechanisms of cooperative response, which are the fundamental elements from which colony-level behavior is derived. Inevitably, the dissection and reconstruction of insect social organization involves semiochemicals, because the principal sensory modality of integration, social coordination, and assembly of colony-level patterns is olfaction.


Social Insect Trail Pheromone Poison Gland Sternal Gland Tandem Running 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • James F. A. Traniello
    • 1
  • Simon K. Robson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBoston UniversityUSA

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