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Pheromones - Essay Example
Pages 8 (2008 words)
Pheromones are chemical substances secreted externally by some animals that influence the physiology and behaviour of other animals of the same species. The word 'pheromone' is derived from the Greek word pherein (to transport/carry) and hormone (stimulating/exciting substance)…
Pheromonal communication elicits physiologic and behavioural changes in the subject affected.
Pheromones were initially studied in insects, where they have an established role as proven by scientific research. Limited sensory development in insects as compared to mammals necessitates the presence of some communication mechanism by which they can exchange information. Pheromones are the substances which perform this function. The complex manner in which ants, termites, honey bees, bugs and other insects organise their daily life without any verbal communication is a definite clue to the presence of pheromones. All insects have a highly organised pattern of social interaction as well as a well defined reproductive pattern which are guided by pheromones.
According to an online article by Pines Maya of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the first pheromone ever to be identified (in 1956) was a powerful sex attractant for silkworm moths. It was isolated over a span of twenty years by a team of German researchers. After removing certain glands at the tip of the abdomen of 500,000 female moths, they extracted the compound. Miniscule amounts of this compound elicited excitement in the male moths exhibited by fluttering of their wings. This clear sign that the males had sensed the attractant enabled the scientists to purify the pheromone. ...
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