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Definition of «Pheromone»

Pheromone: An agent secreted by an individual that produces a change in the sexual or social behavior of another individual of the same species; a volatile hormone that acts as a behavior-altering agent.

The term "pheromone" is usually used for sexual attractants (such as bombesin in the moth Bombyx) but it applies to aggression-stimulating agents (such as isoamyl acetate in honey bees). Other pheromones act as signals for alarm and defense, territory and trail-marking, and social regulation and recognition. Pheromones are now being used in insect control, for example as bait to attract males to field traps or, in very high concentrations, to disorient insects and prevent mating.

It is thought by some scientists that humans also put out pheromones. For example, women may at the time of ovulation secrete a subtle scent that attracts men.

The word "pheromone" was created in 1959 from the ancient Greek "pherein" (to carry) + "-mone" (as in hormone).

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