Meaning of kairomone in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkʌɪrəməʊn/


  • A chemical substance emitted by an organism and detected by another of a different species which gains advantage from this, e.g. a parasite seeking a host.

    ‘Unlike a pheromone, which involves only one species, kairomones are chemicals emitted by one species - in this case pears - that attract and benefit another, such as codling moths.’
    • ‘Thus, natural selection should favor parasitoids that utilize as kairomones only the chemicals that uniquely and reliably identify potential hosts.’
    • ‘According to Torr, ‘Tsetse use host kairomones to locate their hosts by a process termed ‘odour-mediated upwind anemotaxis’.’
    • ‘‘There are a lot of known kairomones, but most are worthless for commercial applications to monitor insects under field conditions,’ Henrick says.’
    • ‘But for some specialist insects, cyanide and cyanogenic compounds can serve as phagostimulants and kairomones.’


1970s from Greek kairos ‘advantage, opportunity’, on the pattern of pheromone.