Implications of orco on olfaction, neural development, and social behavior in ants: A review of the literature
AuthorAgosttini, Joseph Anthony
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractOlfaction is one of the most essential sensory modalities amongst insects. Not only is this behaviorally observed, but it is also anatomically evidenced. A range of social behaviors, including communication, foraging, and reproduction to name a few, immensely rely upon chemosensation. However, studies examining the genetics and neuroethology underlying this sociality in eusocial species, such as bees and ants, have been scarce, thus limiting our understanding of the molecular mechanisms needed for these species to thrive. This review examined the current literature on the orco-encoding gene and the effects that its mutagenesis had on ant olfaction, neural development, and behavior, specifically on Harpegnathos saltator and Ooceraea biroi ants. Results from these few but insightful studies included an observed decrease in the number of olfactory sensory neurons and glomeruli; reduced antennal lobe size, an inability to detect foraging and reproductive pheromones; non-cooperative behavior; and diminished egg laying and longevity, indicating that orco is a crucial protein needed for normal ant development and sociality. These findings show that ants make a prime model to study the sociobiology of insects and to highlight differences in neural development between eusocial and solitary species.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science