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Abstract

The ponerine ant Ectatomma ruidum, though previously reported to possess only rudimentary recruitment ability, was found to lay chemical trails for mass recruitment to rich or difficult food sources. The pheromone originates from the Dufour's gland, a new source of trail pheromones in the primitive ant subfamily Ponerinae. During nest emigrations, E. ruidum practices stereotyped social carrying in the myrmicine mode. The discovery of this form of social carrying and of a recruitment pheromone in the Dufour's gland secretions support the hypothesis that the subfamily Myrmicinae is derived from an ectatommine ancestor. Other communication behaviors exhibited by E. ruidum include exchange of liquid food carried between the mandibles, chemical alarm communication, nest entrance marking, and an additional social carrying posture previously unknown in ants.