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9 Questions

What is animal communication?

What are the conditions for signals to be maintained in a population?

What are some purposes of visual communication?

What is an example of olfactory communication in mammals?

What is seismic communication?

What is thermal communication?

What is autocommunication?

What is pursuit-deterrent signaling?

What is the new approach in the field of animal communication in the 21st century?


Animal Communication: A Summary

  • Animal communication is the transfer of information between animals that affects the current or future behavior of the receivers.

  • Signals are maintained in the population when both the sender and receiver receive some benefit from the interaction.

  • Visual communication serves many purposes, such as mating rituals, warning calls, conveying location of food sources, and social learning.

  • Vocal communication is common, with examples including mating rituals, warning calls, and territorial calls.

  • Olfactory communication is the oldest method of communication, with scent marking and scent rubbing being common forms of olfactory communication in mammals.

  • Electrocommunication is rare, but electric fish use an electric organ to generate an electric field, which is detected by electroreceptors.

  • Touch is a key factor in many social interactions.

  • Seismic communication is the exchange of information using self-generated vibrational signals transmitted via a substrate such as the soil, water, spider webs, plant stems, or a blade of grass.

  • Thermal communication is the ability to sense infrared (IR) thermal radiation, which allows reptiles to derive thermal images from the radiant heat emitted by predators or prey.

  • Autocommunication is a type of communication in which the sender and receiver are the same individual.

  • Animal communication has many functions, including interpretation of animal behavior, interspecific communication, and prey to predator communication.

  • Warning coloration, mimicry, and pursuit-deterrent signals are examples of prey to predator communication.Animal Communication

  • Pursuit-deterrent signals indicate to predators that pursuit would be unprofitable because the signaler is prepared to escape.

  • Examples of pursuit-deterrent signals can be seen in various taxa, including fish, lizards, ungulates, primates, rodents, and birds.

  • Predators attempt to reduce communication to prey as this will generally reduce the effectiveness of their hunting.

  • Some forms of predator to prey communication occur in ways that change the behavior of the prey and make their capture easier, i.e. deception by the predator.

  • Humans interpret the behavior of animals, or give commands to them, which are consistent with interspecies communication.

  • The survival of both the animal and its human caretaker may be at stake if a human fails to recognize a signal for imminent attack.

  • The importance of communication is evident from the highly elaborate morphology, behavior, and physiology that some animals have evolved to facilitate this.

  • Ethologists and sociobiologists have characteristically analyzed animal communication in terms of more or less automatic responses to stimuli, without raising the question of whether the animals concerned understand the meaning of the signals they emit and receive.

  • Bottlenose dolphins can recognize identity information from whistles even when otherwise stripped of the characteristics of the whistle.

  • Dogs have shown an ability to understand human communication in object choice tasks and exhibit a left gaze bias when looking at human faces, indicating that they are capable of reading human emotions.

  • A new approach in the 21st century in the field of animal communication uses applied behavioral analysis, specifically functional communication training.

  • Errors in communication between animals can occur due to distance between the two communicating subjects, as well as the complexity of the signal that is being communicated to the "listener" of the situation.


Think you know everything about animal communication? Test your knowledge with our Animal Communication: A Summary quiz! This quiz covers various forms of animal communication, including visual, vocal, olfactory, and more. You'll learn about the different functions of animal communication, such as interspecific communication and prey to predator communication. Don't miss the chance to discover fascinating facts about animal communication and how it impacts their behavior. Take this quiz today and see how you rank!

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