The Language Of Pheromones
A wounded minnow attempts to rejoin its school and the other minnows scatter in panic; a single beetle finds a pine tree to its liking and soon thousands of beetles swarm that tree and others in the vicinity; a male Syrian golden hamster is drawn along an invisible trail to a burrow where a female hamster awaits him, ready for mating. These animals are responding to received communications, but, as in countless other occurrences in nature, the language is not auditory or visual--it is chemical.
Unlike humans, who gather information largely through sight and sound, most living creatures rely heavily on chemical compounds from other organisms for their basic knowledge of the world. Among the various types of these compounds are the chemical signals exchanged between members of the same species that govern social interactions crucial to survival. These signals are called pheromones (from the Greek "pherein"--to carry--and "hormon"--exciting) and they are used to send warnings, establish territorial boundaries, provoke aggression, control sexual behavior, and locate food. In this volume, organic chemist William C. Agosta explores the chemistry of pheromones and the mechanisms by which they orchestrate animal behavior. Professor Agosta details the intricate process of identifying pheromones and determining the active components within these sometimes highly complex mixtures. He also demonstrates the value of this growing body of knowledge to our understanding of evolution, ecology, human behavior, and agricultural production. The result is a fascinating look at a research area that brings together investigators, information, technologies, and procedures from the fields of biology, chemistry, and behavioral science.
Chemical Communication spans the entire spectrum of life, from simple organisms, such as water molds and brown algae, to insects, birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, and in a provocative final chapter, human beings. Along the way, Dr. Agosta provides dozens of captivating examples of pheromones in action: certain male red-sided garter snakes, which increase their chances of mating successfully by "impersonating" a female, thus distracting rivals; or the bolas spiders, which capture male moths by hitting them with an adhesive ball on a string after emitting a female moth pheromone that lures the males within range. The book also includes important evidence that pheromones alter physiology as well as behavior. For example, young female mice reach maturity at an accelerated pace after constant exposure to adult male mice.
Ratings and Reviews
Be the first to rate and review this book!
You've already shared your review for this item. Thanks!
We are currently reviewing your submission. Thanks!
by William C. Agosta
Share your thoughts
Tell readers what you thought by rating and reviewing this book.
Rate it *
Please make sure to choose a rating
Add a review* Required
How to write a great review
- Say what you liked best and least
- Describe the author's style
- Explain the rating you gave
- Use rude and profane language
- Include any personal information
- Mention spoilers or the book's price
- Recap the plot
(0) 50 characters minimum
The review must be at least 50 characters long.
The title should be at least 4 characters long.
Display Name *
Your display name should be at least 2 characters long.
Report a review
At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information.
Would you like us to take another look at this review?
You've successfully reported this review. We appreciate your feedback.
by William C. Agosta
Thanks for Sharing!
You submitted the following rating and review. We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them.
by on October 22, 2016
- Henry Holt and Co., April 1992
Henry Holt and Co.
- Download options:
- EPUB 2 (Adobe DRM)
You can read this item using any of the following Kobo apps and devices: