Introduction to Communication
• Sensory exploitation and the evolutionary history of signaling
• Honesty in Signaling
• Signal Deception
• Eavesdropping

What is communication?

Behavioural interactions between animals involve communication such as visual, auditory, chemical, electrosensory and mechanosensory.

+ It can take place between members of the same species (conspecifics) or different species (heterospecifics)

Singal Modalities:

+ Some sensory modalities include light, sound, temperature, taste, pressure, and smell.

Animals communicate using signals 

Both sender and receiver must benefit for the signal to be adaptive

Why do animals communicate?

  • Sexual advertisement and mate attraction
  • Parantal care (begging, recognition)
  • Environmental information (predator alarms, food location)
  • Territory defense, conflict resolution
  • Social integration (contact calls)
  • Predator defense (warning colouration)

Selection acts on pre-existing traits

+ Female (and male) whistling moths detect the ultrasonic signals generated by male moths

Sensory Exploitation

communication signals originate in actions that activate pre-existing sensory abilities of receivers 

+ This sensory exploitation benefits only the signaler

Explain the “Panda Principle”

+ Pandas were born with 5 fingers and a wrist bone that was used to hold things properly, but over time pandas were able to develop thump from their wrist bond and form a 6 finger over time. 

+ The Panda Principle in asexual females

Parthenogenetic – reproduction from an ovum without fertilization, especially as a normal process in some invertebrates and lower plants.


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