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Semiochemicals (from semeion , signal, more rarely infochemicals ) are messenger substances that serve the chemical communication between the individuals of a species or between different species. The term was introduced in 1971 by JH Law and FE Regnier.


Semiochemicals can be divided into pheromones and allelochemicals . Pheromones are used for intraspecific communication between organisms of a species, allelochemicals for interspecific communication.

The division of the allelochemicals, also known as xenomons, is made into allomones that are useful for the sender, kairomones that are useful for the recipient and synomones that are useful for both. The term allomone is derived from the term alloiohormone , which was proposed by Albrecht Bethe in 1932 with the same meaning.


There are also apneumones (from the Greek a-pneuma for breathless or lifeless ). These are chemical substances that are emitted by inanimate material and that are beneficial for one organism but cause adverse reactions in another organism.

The classification of semiochemicals is purely functional. A molecule can act as a pheromone, a kairomone, and an allomon or synomone. So spread foraging honeybees the smell of ( Z ) -11-eicosene-1-ol. Beewolf females use this bee pheromone as a kairomone to prey on honey bees. The male bees, in turn, use this component and thus the existing sensory preference of the females for the scent of bees as part of their sex pheromone cocktail in order to attract the female bees.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ JH Law, FE Regnier: Pheromones. In: Annual Review of Biochemistry. 40, 1971, pp. 533-548, doi : 10.1146 / .
  2. ^ RH Whittaker: The biochemical ecology of higher plants , pp. 43-70. In E. Sondheimer, JB Simeone (Ed.): Chemical Ecology . Academic Press, New York (1970), 352 pages, ISBN 0-12-654750-5
  3. ^ Eli Chernin: Interspecific chemical signals. In: BioScience 20.15 (1970): pp. 845-845.
  4. ^ DA Nordlund, RL Jones, WJ Lewis: Semiochemicals: Their Role in Pest Control , Wiley, New York 1981, ISBN 0-471-05803-3 , pp. 13-28.
  5. Albrecht Bethe: Neglected hormones. In: The natural sciences. 20, 1932, pp. 177-181, doi : 10.1007 / BF01504737 .
  6. PW Price, RF Denno, MD Eubanks, DL Finke, I. Kaplan: Insect Ecology: Behavior, Populations and Communities , 812 pages, Cambridge University Press (2011), ISBN 0-521-54260-X , p. 42.
  7. ^ Gudrun Herzner, Thomas Schmitt, K. Eduard Linsenmair, Erhard Strohm: Prey recognition by females of the European beewolf and its potential for a sensory trap. In: Animal Behavior. 70, 2005, pp. 1411-1418, doi : 10.1016 / j.anbehav.2005.03.032 .