Definition of kairomone in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkīrəˌmōn/


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


Late 20th century: from Greek kairos 'advantage, opportunity', on the pattern of pheromone.

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