Meinwald, Jerrold Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A substance that acts as a molecular messenger, transmitting information from one member of a species to another member of the same species. A pheromone is a chemical substance secreted by an individual that influences the behavior of other individuals of the same species (Fig. 1). In general, a distinction is made between releaser pheromones, which elicit a rapid, behavioral response, and primer pheromones, which elicit a slower, developmental response and may pave the way for a future behavior. The first pheromone to be characterized chemically was bombykol; this unsaturated, straight-chain alcohol is secreted in microgram amounts by females of the silkworm moth (Bombyx mori) and is capable of attracting male silkworm moths at large distances. See also: Animal communication; Chemical ecology; Chemoreception
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