The species of desert-dwelling ants of the Cataglyphis bicolor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) group are difficult to distinguish by morphological features. Analysis of the secretion from the Dufour glands of workers of a number of colonies was undertaken to see if it provided a clear test of species. Linked 6c-ms showed in all samples straight and branched-chain alkanes, linear alkenes, ketones, aldehydes, acetates, and a group of C22 to C28 esters not previously identified in this genus. Contents of the Dufour glands of C. savignyi from Tunisia and Egypt were similar, and comprised straight and branched-chain alkanes, alkenes and small amounts of esters. C. bicolor from Tunisia contained compounds similar to C. savignyi but was distinguished from the latter by larger amounts of the esters. The major compound in the glands of C. viaticus was tridecane, in contrast to the pentadecane of other species. It also contained a branched alkane, 3-methyltridecane as a major component. Branched-chain esters and a wide variety of acetates were also found in this species. C. diehlii had a limited range of compounds, with branched alkanes almost completely absent and high proportions of pentadecene and dodecyl acetate. C bombycinus, a sympatric species. but recognized as not belonging to the bicolor group by its different mandibular gland substances, was notable in having butanoate esters in its Dufour glands. Despite these differences among species, both the great variability of individuals from a single colony and the among between conspecific colonies make species diagnosis from a few individuals difficult, in contrast with postpharyngeal glands, which, as recently reported, give a clearer indication of species.