Not All Insects Have Pheromones That Attract The Opposite Sex

Not All Insects Have Pheromones That Attract The Opposite Sex

You have all heard of pheromones. These are the chemicals secreted from humans and animals. These secretions attract members of the opposite sex. Or do they? Maybe pheromones do not always serve this purpose. When it comes to insects in particular, many species will use pheromones to attract mates. But some species secrete pheromones that are considered anti-aphrodisiacs. There are even insects that follow pheromones with the hopes of finding a mate, but they end up finding something dangerous instead.

Males that belong to the silkworm family moth species will follow a female’s pheromones for thirty miles in order to mate. A queen honeybee will secrete a pheromone that stimulates workers into being productive. Female mealworms will attract a male with pheromones. The female’s first male partner will cover her in an anti-aphrodisiac that prevents other males from being attracted to the female. This anti-aphrodisiac is used to ensure the passing of the male’s genes, while preventing other males from having a chance. Some parasitic wasp species will even follow the scent of their prey’s pheromones in order to score a meal. In this case, mating is not related to pheromone sensing.

Most insects use pheromones to engage in copulation. As male roaches and crickets secrete a pheromone from their bodies that is aptly called “seducin”. The females then chew on the bodies of these males during copulation. In this case, pheromones are clear aphrodisiacs. However, sometimes pheromones can be used to attract food, which makes hunting unnecessary. For example, bolas spiders can secrete pheromones that are identical to the pheromones of certain night flying moths. Once a male senses this pheromone, it will follow the scent in order to locate a female mate. Unfortunately, these male moths often arrive to find a hungry spider instead.

Do you know of any other insects or spiders that trick their prey with pheromones?


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