The ascarosides form a family of small molecules that have been isolated from cultures of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. They are often referred to as "dauer pheromones" because most of them induce formation of long-lived and highly stress resistant dauer larvae. More recent studies have shown that ascarosides serve additional functions as social signals and mating pheromones. Thus, ascarosides have multiple functions. Until now, it has been generally assumed that ascarosides are constitutively expressed during nematode development.
Kaplan, F., Srinivasan, J., Mahanti, P., Ajredini, R., Durak, O., Nimalendran, R., … Alborn, H. T. (2011). Ascaroside expression in Caenorhabditis elegans is strongly dependent on diet and developmental stage. PLoS ONE, 6(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0017804