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Pheromones. Tami Kopperud Catherine Miller Jacqueline Sheppard. Definition:. Chemicals produced and emitted by animals and plants as messengers that affect the behavior of other individuals of the same species. Derived from Greek words pherein , to transfer and hormon , to excite.

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Tami Kopperud

Catherine Miller

Jacqueline Sheppard

  • Chemicals produced and emitted by animals and plants as messengers that affect the behavior of other individuals of the same species.
  • Derived from Greek words pherein, to transfer and hormon, to excite.
who uses them
Who uses them?
  • Insects - Moths
  • Other Invertebrates – Spiders, Ants
  • Vertebrates – Mice, Goldfish
  • Other animals
what are the messages for
What are the messages for?
  • Finding a Mate
  • Taking Advantage of Food Resources – Aggregation
  • Defense Against Predation
  • Social Behaviors

Imported Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)

  • Uses a complex trail pheromone in order to find food
  • First ant on the scene finds food
  • Releases pheromone to mark

the trail back to the nest

Other ants find the trail and follow it to the food source
  • Recruited ants leave a trail signal of their own
  • Value of food source judged by number of trails
  • Good food = Lots of trails
The ant uses five different pheromones:
  • 4-heptanone
  • 2-methyl 4 heptanone
  • 6-methyl-5 heptene-2-one
  • 4-hydroxy-4-methyl-2-pentanone
  • Iridodial
  • Iridomyrmecin

6-methyl-5 hepten-2-one

prey capture
Prey Capture
  • Some animals mimic pheromones to trick prey
  • Bolas Spider (Mastophora hutchinsoni) mimics the mating pheromone of the moth
  • When the male moth searches for a suitable female…
The hungry spider is waiting
  • No need to track food, food comes to you
  • The Bolas spider mimics the sex pheromone of two different types of moths
  • Goldfish have no defined territories
  • Females spawn among vegetation
  • Males fight in order to get close enough to fertilize the females’ eggs
  • Pheromones are chemicals emitted to communicate reproductive readiness and stimulate other behaviors
Female goldfish release two sets of pheromones ; preovulatory and postovulatory
  • Male goldfish can discriminate among the steroid components of preovulatory pheromones because each steroid elicits a distinctive pattern of behavior
  • For 1720BP –low-level behavioral effects which last through exposure to the steroid
  • For 1720BP-S –higher levels of courtship were seen
  • For androstenedione –aggressive behavior was seen in males.
According to a study by Dr. Poling, males regulate seminal fluid and sperm production in response to stimulatory pheromones from ovulatory females, but also in response to unknown stimulatory and inhibitory cues from male competitors.
Dr. Olsen from Uppsalla University in Sweden has shown the crucian carp (closely related to the goldfish) share the same system with hormonal pheromones.
  • Salmon also release odors which effect behavior, sex hormone levels and sperm volumes.
  • Dr. Olsen wants to see if hormonal pheromones act as barriers for hybridization
social behavior
Social Behavior
  • Mice use pheromones for social and reproductive behavior
  • The main pheromones are 2-sec-butyl-4,5-dihydrothiazole

and 3,4-dehydro-exo-brevicomin

  • Pheromones are excreted in urine from mice bound to major urinary proteins (MUPs).
  • MUPs are a group of semiochemical binding proteins that carry the mouse pheromones.
  • The MUP is made of a small protein and a ligand with room in the middle for the pheromone molecule.
  • All parts of the MUP are considered to have pheromonal affects.
2-sec.butyl-4,5-dihydrothiazole represents an example of mouse pheromones. The molecule was found to bind to proteins excreted into urine (major urinary proteins).
  • Among approximately of a dozen of major urinary proteins, the protein classified as MUP-I, is one of the most abundant.
  • Vomeronasal organ (VNO) contains receptor sites to detect pheromones.
  • Found in the nasal cavities of mice and many other animals.
  • VNO is anatomically and functionally distinct from the olfactory system
pheromones modulate social reproductive behavior in mice
Pheromones Modulate Social & Reproductive Behavior in Mice

Social Behaviors

  • Male vs. Male Aggression
  • Nursing Female vs. Mice Aggression

Navigation Aids

  • A mouse sniffing at urine scent "posts" left by another mouse. The scent marks of male mice appear to act as "scarecrows" in the dark, when mice are normally active.

Solenopsis invicta (Red Fire Ant)

The trail pheromone of the Red Imported Fire Ant

Chemical ecology in the red imported fire ant

Hubbard P.C., Barata E.N., and Canario A.V.M, Possible disruption of pheromonal communication by humic acid in goldfish, Aquatic Toxicology, 60 (2002) 169-83. 

Poling, K.R., Fraser E.J., and Sorenson, P.W., The three steroidal components of the goldfish preovulatory pheromone signal evoke different behaviors, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B 129(2001) 645-51. 

Stacey N., Fraser E.J, Sorenson, P., Van Der Kraak, G., Milt production in goldfish: regulation by multiple social stimuli, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C 130(2001) 467-76.

bibliography cont
Bibliography cont. 4076/index49.html images/goldfish.jpg