Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are used for chemical communication among nestmates in many ant species, and they may play a role in the discrimination of
nestmates and non-nestmates. Using the mandible opening response (MOR) bioassay, we tested the response of the African termite raiding ant, Pachycondyla analis, to CHC extracts of nestmates and non-nestmates. The ants were able to distinguish control chemical cues, from nestmate CHCs, and from non-nestmate CHCs, and, based on a CHC recognition threshold, aggression was demonstrated toward non-nestmates. Gas chromatography (GC) and GC-mass spectrometric analyses showed that CHC components of different ant colonies had chain lengths ranging from C8 to C31, comprising mainly n-alkanes, alkenes, and methyl
branched alkanes, with the n-alkanes occurring in the same proportions among all colonies. The ants were grouped successfully according to their colonies of origin by using discriminant analysis of CHCs. We demonstrate that nestmate recognition occurs in P. analis, and that some of the cues involved are evidently alkenes and methyl-branched alkanes.