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Ants are covered with a layer of long-chain fatty acids called hydrocarbons which they use to tell nest mates from none-nest mates. Not only does each colony of ants have a colony specific odour, but in many species, workers will have a different odour depeding on their role within the colony. A forager might have a distinct odour from a nursery worker for instance, and this helps determine how the ants interact with one another.

Tags: Morphology & Physiology | Behaviour

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