Alarm pheromones-chemical signaling in response to danger

François J. Verheggen, Eric Haubruge, Mark C. Mescher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Many animals respond to the threat of predation by producing alarm signals that warn other individuals of the presence of danger or otherwise reduce the success of predators. While alarm signals may be visual or auditory as well as chemical, alarm pheromones are common, especially among insects and aquatic organisms. Plants too emit chemical signals in response to attack by insect herbivores that recruit the herbivores' natural enemies and can induce preparations for defense in neighboring plants (or other parts of the same plant). In this chapter, we discuss our current understanding of chemical alarm signaling in a variety of animal groups (including social and presocial insects, marine invertebrates, fish, and mammals) and in plants. We also briefly discuss the exploitation of alarm pheromones as foraging cues for natural enemies. We conclude with a brief discussion of the potential exploitation of alarm signaling to achieve the applied goal of managing pest species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-239
Number of pages25
JournalVitamins and Hormones
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


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