Skip over navigation

Animal Behavior: Signaling and Communication

Problems

Signaling

Signal Types: Mechanisms and Relative Advantages

Problem :

Many animals, when presented with a conflict, lay back their ears to protect them in case of a fight. In some species this behavior has become a signal of aggression. What is the process by which this happens?

The process by which a meaningful behavior becomes ritualized and used as a warning signal for a larger behavior pattern is called ritualization.

Problem :

Desscribe Zahavi's handicap principle.

Zahavi's handicap principle states that in order to be honest, a signal must be costly to the signaler, so only the most fit individuals can afford to brandish the honest signal.

Problem :

A given habitat supports two types of poisonous frogs. In one species of frog, bright coloration begins to evolve as a signal to predators that the frog is poisonous. Soon the other species of frog also begins to evolve bright coloration. What type of mimicry is this?

Mimicry in which two dangerous species evolve mutual imitation to the benefit of both is known as Mullerian mimicry.

Problem :

In the case of two species of poisonous frogs that share the same habitat, what is the advantage of both developing the same danger signal to predators?

Each species of frog benefits from using the same danger signal because any given predator only needs to learn once that the signal means that the animal is poisonous and then avoids both species rather than having to learn separate signals by attacking members of both species.

Problem :

Skunks signal danger to other species by the broad white stripe down their backs. If another, harmless species were to develop a similar white stripe, what type of mimicry would this be?

Such mimicry is called Batesian mimicry.

Follow Us