Pheromone is a chemical substance that is produced by one animal which influences the behavior of another animal. The animal producing the pheromone may achieve this either by acting as a releaser or by building up motivation towards a particular type of behavior. The best known type of this substance are that secreted by mammals which are used for marking out territories or attracting mates. Likewise, the chemical substance or attractants that bring the sexes together in insects, marine worms and other species are pheromones. For instance, unmated female cockroaches secrete a chemical substance from the surface of their body which stimulates males to court them. The male cockroaches are aroused even if they touch a filter paper that has been in contact with a female, which therefore contains the pheromones. In social insects such as the bees, pheromones play an important part in directing the development and behavior of the different caste in the colony.
What is a Pheromone?
A pheromone is a chemical secreted by one species that affects the behavior or physiology of another species. The first pheromone was discovered in 1959 in female silk moths, and later researchers found them in mice, pigs, and other mammals.
Releaser pheromones cause an instant and specific behavioral response, such as attraction to a potential mate. They can also trigger a physiological response, such as a change in hormones.
In animals, pheromones are chemicals that transmit information between members of the same species. They cause certain physiological or behavioral responses in the receiving animal. They also help to mark territory, identify mates and family members, and initiate courting behaviors. They are a type of semiochemical, a term that refers to the whole class of chemicals used for communication between animals.
They can be released by glands located all over the body, including the mouth and paws. They are secreted in sweat, urine, and saliva. Animals use scents to communicate with each other and communicate their own feelings. They may rub paws together to mark their territory, urinate on trees to signal their presence, or sniff each other’s rear ends to identify family or mates.
Some of this substance are known to trigger sexual attraction in humans. You might have seen pheromone perfumes on TikTok, claiming to make you smell “sexy.” It’s not clear whether these perfumes actually work, but studies are beginning to prove the existence of human pheromones.
Role of Pheromone in Animal Behavior
This biological substance are chemical signals that evolved to convey information within a species. They can be used to mark territory, attract mates, communicate threats, warn of predators, and control social behaviors like mating or suckling. Almost every kind of animal produces and uses these chemical messages. They can be emitted as an airborne scent or deposited on the ground, plants, or other objects.
A pheromone is defined as a chemical that is produced by one member of a species, smelled by another member of the same species, and changes the receiver’s behavior or physiology. It can have either a releaser effect, such as sexual pheromones, or a primer effect, such as the appeasing pheromones that mammals produce after giving birth to their young.
The role of this substance in animal behavior is important for researchers to understand. Laboratory cleaning and housing conditions can alter rodent pheromone production and perception in ways that could confound experimental procedures. Especially in the case of alarm pheromones, which are very sensitive to environmental conditions, these effects must be carefully considered when designing lab protocols and experimental procedures.
Chemical Structure of Pheromone
This substance is a chemical signal that communicate information between organisms of the same species. They are part of a class of chemicals called semiochemicals. They transmit the signal to a receiver through the skin and cause physiological or behavioral responses in the receiver. They are found in many animals and can be detected using gas chromatography techniques.
In gregarious insects, aggregation pheromones facilitate mate selection, group foraging, and resource exploitation. They attract passing conspecifics to the pheromone source by acting as attractive odorants, or they induce the conspecifics already present at the aggregation site to remain there (arrestant odorants). Aggregation pheromones can contain a single compound or multiple compounds.
GC-MS analyses of cuticular hydrocarbons from Reticulitermes termite workers showed that the aggregation pheromone contains straight and branched alkanes of 20 carbon molecules or more. The aggregation pheromone binds to the hydrophobic cavity of SNMP1 and is transferred to the ligand binding site of PR via a tunnel-like ectodomain.
Chemical Formula of Pheromone
Scientists have used a number of methods to determine the chemical structure of this substance. For example, the sex pheromone of the codling moth was analyzed using GLC retention times and EAG to predict the position and configuration of double bonds in long-chain fatty acetates, aldehydes, and alcohols. Several libraries of monounsaturated 12-carbon compounds were tested against the antenna, and the relative response amplitudes were used to determine the main pheromone component.
Single complex chemicals have also been found that elicit the full repertoire of behavioral responses in low biologically relevant concentrations. These include periplanone B for the cockroach Periplaneta americana and supellapyrone for the brownbanded cockroach Supella longipalpa.
A successful pheromone must have the right chemical composition, be stable against volatilization, be released at an appropriate rate for the target species, and be delivered to antennal receptors that are sensitive to it. This can be challenging because a single pheromone may contain many different components, each with a unique structure and response.