Definition of semiochemical in US English:



  • A pheromone or other chemical that conveys a signal from one organism to another so as to modify the behavior of the recipient organism.

    • ‘In particular, he is trying to determine whether genetically modified soybeans release the same semiochemicals as traditional soybean varieties to attract insects that parasitize stink bugs.’
    • ‘They expected to confirm that grapefruit is highly attractive to the Mexican fruit fly, probably because a grapefruit gives off semiochemicals - a type of chemical signature that insects identify by smell.’
    • ‘Animals or even plants may emit different semiochemicals (including pheromones) which serve as sexual attractants, repellents to potential predators, or inducements to flight mode.’
    • ‘Combined with a juvenile-hormone-type insecticide, such a semiochemical could potentially be used as an effective control method of this mosquito as a disease vector.’
    • ‘The semiochemical is even strong enough to awaken lab sharks from tonic immobility, an induced, ‘death-feigning’ state during which researchers can go so far as to perform surgery without arousing the animal.’


1970s: from Greek ēmeion ‘sign’ + chemical.