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Allomones in Social Insects

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Allomones are communication compounds that function in interspecific communication. They fall within the broad classes of chemical signals referred to as allelochemicals or allelomones. On contact with an individual of another species, an allomone evokes a behavioral and/or a physiological response in the receiver [167,168,6]. Allomones are of benefit to the releaser, usually to the detriment of the receiver. However, in some cases, they may also benefit the receiver by forestalling a poisoning or other deleterious result.

Different types of behaviors are mediated by allomones. Key among these are their roles as defensive secretions against predators or other natural enemies, such as the formic acid sprayed by formicine ants and the venom from many social wasps, social bees, and ants.

A classic example representing the reverse of protection by a host using allomones is seen in the obligate bumble-bee social parasite Bombus norvegicus. Females of B. norvegicususes dodecyl acetate...

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Allomones in Social Insects, Fig. 1
Allomones in Social Insects, Fig. 2

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Correspondence to Abdullahi A. Yusuf .

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Yusuf, A.A. (2021). Allomones in Social Insects. In: Starr, C.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Social Insects. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28102-1_5

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