Woodlice reduce risk by avoiding dead and dying members of their own species via chemical signals they release.

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Insects and arthropods of various taxa avoid their dead and dying so as to prevent predation or the spread of disease. They respond to chemicals called necromones that are released by the dead or dying individual.

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“Ants, cockroaches, and collembola recognize their dead using unsaturated fatty acids (e.g., oleic or linoleic acid) as ‘necromone’ cues…Necromone recognition, undertaking and avoidance of dead and injured conspecifics, may serve to reduce risks of predators and contagion that are reliably associated with such signals.” (Yao et al. 2009:267)

“[R]epellent fraction showed three strong peaks corresponding mainly to palmitic, stearic, and C18 fatty acids (i.e., oleic, linoleic, linolenic).” (Yao et al. 2009:273)

“Similar necromones in ants, cockroaches, and springtails suggests an origin predating the Hexapoda. Shared necromones by insects and crustaceans suggests a truly ancient origin.” (Yao et al. 2009:276)

The ancient chemistry of avoiding risks of predation and disease

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Living System/s

Porcellionides pruinosusSpecies

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