An extracellular, diffusible signaling molecule (pheromone) was produced by Stigmatella aurantiaca during fruiting body formation. The pheromone decreased the aggregation period in both the light and the dark and substituted for light in stimulating the maturation of aggregates into fruiting bodies. The cells were more sensitive to lower concentrations of pheromone in the light than in the dark, possibly explaining the stimulation of aggregation and fruiting body formation by light. The pheromone also interacted cooperatively with GMP to shorten the aggregation period. The pheromone behaved chemically as a low-molecular-weight lipid.