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A Discussion on Pheromones and Insects

Insects go through larval and pupal stages of development, the attraction of males to a virgin female can anticipate the pupal insect hatching from its cocoon. This is seen in certain moths and butter...

Insects go through larval and pupal stages of development, the attraction of males to a virgin female can anticipate the pupal insect hatching from its cocoon. This is seen in certain moths and butteries that anticipate the emergence of their sexual partner. The males gather round to sexually greet the emerging female who has yet to experience the world as an adult.

Pheromones obtained synthetically are now used to entrap moths, cockroaches and other insects as part of pest control. Most recently, the pheromone that attracts the tick responsible for Rocky Mountain spotted fever has been isolated and identified. We will soon have available “tick tricks,” or poisonous decoys, that attract the male for a lethal copulation, designed to decrease the tick population in our farms and backyards.

Insect responses to pheromones are obvious in their behavioral effects that are similar to what we see in dogs and cats. For humans, these responses are more subtle, but no less a part of our behavioral sexual relationships. Learn more at†

When we see two people meet and strike up an immediate rapport with one another, we are frequently witnessing the power of pheromonal communication. Sexual attraction involves a number of factors including the exchange of pheromones. One reason why we have learned about pheromones only relatively recently is that much of our initial sexual attraction is based on physical appearance — we like what we see and draw near to the object of our desire. Once we draw near, the subtle but sure exchange of pheromones make it possible for us to become further entranced.

For instance, it is no secret that men, in particular, respond to sexy, physically attractive women. From an evolutionary standpoint, it can be argued that men respond to a woman’s prominent hips and breasts in the same manner as baboons or chimps react to the ruddy rump or swollen genitalia of females in heat. In both cases, this was to enable suitable reproductive partners to nd one another. What we forget is that this visual sexual signaling is also designed to bring us within closer proximity so that odor can exert its subtle predominance.

The human olfactory system is capable of recognizing hundreds of thousands of smells, a skill that professional perfumers and wine tasters rely on for their livelihood. “Noses,” as they are called, can distinguish the ingredients of two to three thousand perfume blends. Stoddard, in the Scented Ape (1990) has shown evidence that our sensitivity to volatile odors can be surprisingly more acute than that found in rats. The average person is able to distinguish by odor more than 4,000 chemicals that readily evaporate into the air, including alcohol and acetone. As an example of how our olfactory sensitivity operates at a molecular level, consider how we use hydrogen sulfide, a smelly volatile chemicalHealth Fitness Articles, to mark cooking gas in order to protect ourselves from asphyxiation or explosion by allowing us to detect the ordinarily odor-free gas emitted by our stoves or furnaces.

Hopefully this article will clear up any misconceptions about pheromones

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Alexander P ia an author who studies the power of human pheromones.

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