Evidence for diglycerides as attractants in an ant-seed interaction

D. L. Marshall*, A. J. Beattie, W. E. Bollenbacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


The chemical basis of an ant-seed interaction was investigated for the ant Aphaenogaster rudis and the ant-dispersed violet Viola odorata. A laboratory behavioral bioassay was developed to chemically identify the attractant responsible for the interaction. The ant attractant, localized in the elaiosome, was classified as a lipid by both field and laboratory bioassays. Assays of partially purified lipid extracts revealed that the principal attractant may be a diglyceride. Gas-liquid chromatography analysis of the hydrolyzed diglyceride fraction revealed oleic acid as the major fatty acid present, suggesting that either 1,2- or 1,3-diolein may be the attractant. Structure-activity correlations for lipid standards demonstrated a clear preference for the diglyceride 1,2-diolein. The data also suggest that ricinoleic acid is not the lipid eliciting the ant response to Viola odorata, as had been previously suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • ant
  • Aphaenogaster rudis
  • behavior
  • diglyceride
  • elaiosome
  • Formicidae
  • Hymenoptera
  • myrmecochory
  • Viola odorata


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence for diglycerides as attractants in an ant-seed interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this