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Allomones are communication compounds that function in interspecific communication. They fall within the broad classes of chemical signals referred to as allelochemicals or allelomones. On contact with an individual of another species, an allomone evokes a behavioral and/or a physiological response in the receiver [4, 5, 6]. Allomones are of benefit to the releaser, usually to the detriment of the receiver. However, in some cases, they may also benefit the receiver by forestalling a poisoning or other deleterious result.
365体育网站Different types of behaviors are mediated by allomones. Key among these are their roles as defensive secretions against predators or other natural enemies, such as the formic acid sprayed by formicine ants and the venom from many social wasps, social bees, and ants.
Allomones can also be used by predators to lure their prey by exploiting the prey’s chemical communication system through production of pheromones used by the prey, a phenomenon known as “aggressive chemical mimicry.” The use of aggressive chemical mimicry is known in the relationship between the myrmecophilous staphylinid beetle Atemeles pubicollis and its host, the mound-making ant Formica polyctena , and those between the assassin bug Apiomerus pictipes that preys on the stingless bee Trigona fulviventris . The social-parasitic paper wasp Polistes sulcifer uses specific allomones from its venom that destabilize the colony of its host, P. dominulus, by causing aggression between host nestmates . Such allomones are known as “propaganda semiochemicals.”
Although allomones are regarded more as defensive weapons and often associated with pain, power, and fear, they can also function as propaganda, appeasement, and manipulative agents. Indeed, the possession of allomones and their use by some social insects like honey bees and ants earned these insects’ charismatic names like killer bees, bullet ants, and fire ants.
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