Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Alarm Pheromones of Insects

  • Emma Napper
  • John A. Pickett
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_125

Alarm pheromones are defined as chemical substances, produced and released by an organism, that warn or alert another of the same species of impending danger. This is exemplified by many species of aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in which the pheromone is caused to be released by attack, for example, by predators, with ensuing dispersal by which individual aphids may avoid a subsequent attack. However, the term alarm pheromone also is employed when the responding individuals are stimulated to show aggression towards the attacking agent. This is common in the social Hymenoptera; for example, the honeybee, Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae), and many ant species respond aggressively to their alarm pheromones.

As alarm pheromones can benefit the survival of members of the species involved, it is common for insects that employ alarm pheromones to live in congregations for some or all of their life cycle. In the case of social Hymenoptera, the colony is genetically related, and in asexually...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

References

  1. Aldrich JR, Blum MS, Lloyd HA, Fales HM (1978) Pentatomid natural products. Chemistry and morphology of the III-IV dorsal abdominal glands of adults. J Chem Ecol 4:161–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowers WS, Nault LR, Webb RE, Dutky SR (1972) Aphid alarm pheromone: isolation, identification, synthesis. Science 177:1121–1122PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradshaw JWS, Baker R, Howse PE (1979) Multicomponent alarm pheromones in the mandibular glands of major workers of the African weaver ant. Physiol Entomol 4:15–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dawson GW, Griffiths DC, Pickett JA, Woodcock CM (1983) Decreased response to alarm pheromone by insect-resistant aphids. Naturwissenschaften 70:254–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Free JB, Pickett JA, Ferguson AW, Simpkins JR, Smith MC (1985) Repelling foraging honeybees with alarm pheromones. J Agric Sci 105:255–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hölldobler B, Wilson EO (1990) The ants, 1st ed. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  7. Nault LR, Phelan PL (1984) Alarm pheromones and sociality in pre-social insects. In: Chemical ecology of insects. Chapman and Hall, London, UK, pp 237–256Google Scholar
  8. Pickett JA, Griffiths DC (1980) Composition of aphid alarm pheromones. J Chem Ecol 6:349–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma Napper
    • 1
  • John A. Pickett
    • 1
  1. 1.RothamstedHarpendenUK