Pheromone

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A pheromone (from Greek φέρω phero "to bear" + hormone from Greek ὁρμή - "impetus") is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting outside the body of the secreting individual to impact the behavior of the receiving individual.[1] There are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others that affect behavior or physiology. Their use among insects has been particularly well documented. In addition, some vertebrates and plants communicate by using pheromones.

Contents

Background

The term "pheromone" was introduced by Peter Karlson and Martin Lüscher in 1959, based on the Greek word pherein (to transport) and hormone (to stimulate). They are also sometimes classified as ecto-hormones. These chemical messengers are transported outside of the body and result in a direct developmental effect on hormone levels or behavioral change.[2] They proposed the term to describe chemical signals from conspecifics which elicit innate behaviors soon after the German Biochemist Adolf Butenandt characterized the first such chemical, bombykol (a chemically well-characterized pheromone released by the female silkworm to attract mates).[3]

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