Venoms and Venom Apparatuses of the Formicidae: Dolichoderinae and Aneuretinae

  • S. Blum
  • H. R. HermannJr.
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology / Handbuch der experimentellen Pharmakologie book series (HEP, volume 48)


In many areas of the world, ants in the subfamily Dolichoderinae constitute one of the dominant groups of invertebrates. This is especially true of the American and certain regions of the Old World tropics where many species of dolichoderine ants form populous colonies. The aggressive and fast-moving workers can represent a formidable force when unleashed against either invertebrate or vertebrate intruders. Although these formicids lack a penetrating sting, they have an extraordinary defensive capability derived from one of the most variegated exocrine arsenals produced by any group of invertebrates. A multitude of unique defensive compounds are biosynthesized in the anal glands, structures which have arisen de novo in the Dolichoderinae and function as both social organs and defensive glands. Among the Formicidae, the anal glands may constitute the chemical arsenal par excellence and are probably, to a great extent, responsible for the success of the dolichoderines in exploiting a multitude of habitats despite intense competition from other groups of ants.


Gland Secretion Alarm Pheromone Anal Gland Pyrazine Derivative Mandibular Gland Secretion 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Blum
  • H. R. HermannJr.

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