Journal article

Density of Antennal Sensilla Influences Efficacy of Communication in a Social Insect

Katherine P Gill, Ellen van Wilgenburg, David L Macmillan, Mark A Elgar



Effective communication requires reliable signals and competent receptors. Theoretical and empirical accounts of animal signaling focus overwhelmingly on the capacity of the signaler to convey the message. Nevertheless, the intended receiver's ability to detect a signal depends on the condition of its receptor organs, as documented for humans. The impact of receptor organ condition on signal reception and its consequences for functional behavior are poorly understood. Social insects use antennae to detect chemical odors that distinguish between nestmates and enemies, reacting aggressively to the latter. We investigated the impact of antennal condition, determined by the density of sensilla, ..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank the late R. Crozier, S. Robson, E. Schluens, and H. Schluens for their hospitality at James Cook University; J. Ratcliffe for help with fieldwork; R. Day for statistical advice; A. Barron, K. P. Rajashekhar, and an anonymous referee for helpful comments on the manuscript; and the Australian Research Council (DP0879610) for financial support.