Different Types of Pheromones [UPDATED]

Pheromone colognes are substances that are secreted by a living organism into the air or water, or onto a surface such as the ground, a rock, or a leaf, that will trigger a response from others of the same species. These substances are usually not noticed by any other species other than the one that secreted it, and depending on the pheromone it can be noticed for miles around, which makes it a perfect channel for communication between those of the same species, whether male or female. There are dozens of types of pheromones that can be very specific to each species, but there eight main types that are generic to most living things.

To aggregate means to gather into a mass and aggregation pheromones can be secreted to gather more members of the same species for many different reasons. The most common reason this secretion is produced is to gather as many males and females together as possible for mate selection. However, it can also be used to rally the troops in defense or to mass attack an invading host.

The alarm pheromone is one of the few that is found in animals and insects, as well as in plants. This secretion will trigger the ‘fight or flight’ instincts of the other plants or animals near the one that secreted it. In plants that utilize this pheromone, the surrounding plants can produce byproducts that will make themselves unappetizing to grazing animals.

A releaser pheromone is one that will change the receivers behavior in some way or another. It could be one that causes an immediate but short-lived reaction, such as a mother rabbit’s mammary secretions that cause their young to promptly nurse. Sex pheromones are also releasers, but they release much more slowly and over a much longer period of time.

Signal pheromones are often very short-term and very strong. Many times, these signal secretions are used as a placeholder until another pheromone is strong enough or has spread far enough to reach the intended recipient or recipients.

We often see animals marking their territory with urine, like dogs, or with their skin’s oils, like cats. However, many animals have glands that are specific to the task of creating pheromones for marking territory. Some female insects that lay eggs on plant leaves will leave an epideictic pheromone around her eggs to mark this territory as hers and to tell other female egg-layers to find somewhere else. It should be no surprise that pheromones are complex and and powerful attractants that work in both men and women.

It is mostly small insects that utilize the trail pheromone, as it allows them to follow one another to a found object and back to their base of operations without the trail going cold and without the entire group getting lost in the process of finding food or materials.

If pheromones are picked up by an animal of a different species, which is rare most are not detectable outside of the species that secreted it, the secretion will give that new animal quite a bit of information about the secreter. Urine is a very obvious pheromone, and cats will be able to tell a dog’s urine from a human’s or a cat’s. However, if a dog was to stumble upon another dog’s marked area, they would be able to determine the sex of the other dog, it’s breed, as well as how long ago it had been there.

Sex pheromones are very strong and will let members of the same species but of the opposite sex know that there is potential for breeding because a female is fertile. These types of secretions are often the ones that travel the farthest and attract the most animals or insects. Plants can also give off this pheromone when they are fertile to attract flying insects who will then, through the course of their own actions, spread the plant’s pollen. Popular pheromones includePherlure, Nexus pheromones,  and Athena Pheromones.