What is the study of animal communication and behavior?

what is the study of animal communication and behavior? “ So we discus about, Animal communication is the passage of information between two animals.”

The animals that send signals are called signallers, and the animals that receive alerts are called receivers.

Therefore, animal communication is also known as Biological communication.

The study of animal communication is called Zoosemiotics.

Niko Tinbergen developed the classical ethological view of communication.

Types of animals communications

Interspecific communication

          Communication within the same genre

  •       Bee dance

Connected Communications

   Prey to Predator communication

  •      warning coloration in wasps

Predator to prey communication

  •   Some hunters negotiate for prey and make it easier to catch, in fact deceiving them.
  • Angler fish

Human and animal communication

  •           During domestication of animals 

Basic Components

Signaller:  An individual who emits the signal.

Receiver:  An individual who receives a signal.

Signal:  The behavior emitted by the signaller.

Channels:  Channel is defined as a Pathway through which a signal usually travels. (i.e., means of communication)

1- Visual Communication

  • Information transmitted through visual means is called visual communication.
  • Visual signals can give different sources such as
    • Movement
    • Posture or shape of the body  
    • Facial expressions.
    • Color identification 
    • Light
  • Visual signals are used most often by active species during the day.
  • Light as a visual means is used in the night.

 Examples of visual

Visual communication in Bees(movement)

  • Worker bees talk primarily about food in the language of dance.
  • However, Karl von Frisch decoded it in 1965.
  • Bees mainly perform two types of dance.

Round dance: If the nectar source is less than about 100m away. It does not communicate the direction.

Waggle dance: If the nectar source is more than 100m away from the hive. Communication both distance and direction.

Round dance:

  • She runs around in a narrow circle, suddenly reversing her original course.
  • After the round dance has ended, she often distributes food to the bees following her.
  • Essentially says, “there is food closely. Get out and find the food, which smells like this.”


  • It runs straight ahead distance, returns in a semicircle to the starting point, runs again through the straight course, then makes a semicircle in the opposite direction to complete an entire figure-eight circuit.
  • While running the straight-lie course of the dance, the bee wags abdomen vigorously sideways.
  • The angle that the bee adopts, relative to vertical, represents how food is found.


  • Some mammals give specific signals by the position adopted by the head, ear& tail.
  • Flattened ear-fear/suspicion.
  • Wagging of tail-Complete submission.
  • Retraction of lips to display teeth-threat display.

Colors and Displays

  • During mating season, the male goldfish has a bright yellow body.
  • The Gila monster’s bright orange-colored splotches warn predators that it is poisonous and they should back off.
  • When an animal exhibits behavior that other animals can see, it is called a display.
  • Male fiddler crabs wave their giant claw to attract female fiddler crabs.
  • Quale peacock exhibits a visual display as part of its courtship rituals.

Light (Bioluminescence)

  • Certain insects and deep-sea fishes communicate via their light signals.
  • Luminous insects are glow worms and their relatives, the fireflies.
  • Light producing fish include Anglerfishes.


  • Sending information from one member to another through the production of sound is called an auditory signal.
  • Sound is a reasonable means of communicating over long distances both in air and water.
  • It may have a vocal origin, or other organs may produce it.
  • E.g., Calls of mammals and birds-vocal origin; sound-producing by cricket is the rhythmic oscillation of forewings.
  • Sound is a more effective signal at night and in the dark.
  • It can go around obstacles that will interfere with the visual signal.
  • It is better than a visual signal in capturing the attention of the recipient.


Deathwatch beetle signals to each other by producing clicking sounds made by tapping their head against the wood.

Red squirrels will scream and scream to warn intruders.

Bottle nose dolphins have a wide range of sounds. Each dolphin also has a unique whistling sound to identify itself.

Value birds sing a song during the breeding season.


  • Molecules used for chemical communication between individual animals are called pheromones.
  • Pheromones are involved in inmate identification, marking territory, alarm spreading.
  • Odor signals can transmit information in the dark, travel long distances, and last for hours or several days.
  • Usually, the message passes between animals of the same species.
  • Chemical communication is the primitive type of communication.

Chemical Examples

Female silkworms secrete pheromones to attract males.


Queen honeybee attracts males by 9-hexadecenoic acid.

Alarm pheromones are producing in ants using formic acid to protect themselves from enemies.

Ants lay down an initial trail of pheromones as they return to the nest with food.

A female gypsy moth may influence male moths a few kilometers away by producing a pheromone called “departure.

Dogs and some other animals of dog families use urine to mark the boundaries of their territories.


  • Information transmit in physical signals (touch signals) is called textile communication.
  • Ant antennae of ants, termites, and bees are involve in this process.
  • 1) Females often hold and hug their babies. It helps to establish bonds.
  • 2) Termites – Blind workers are dependent on its tendency.


  • It is a means of communication in some fish.
  • Moreover, The torpedo (electric beam) and the shark (Scyliohinus canaliculus) contain electro receptors that are use in communication.
  • Sharks detect an electric field created by flat fish buried in the sand using a special organ called Lorenzini’s ampoula.
  • In addition, Electric fish exclude electric fields and provide information about species identity and sex.


  • In some animals, information can be transmit through surface vibration patterns.
  • however, Water spiders send out ripples of a particular frequency, and receptive females respond by moving towards the source.
  • Moreover, Cannibalistic male spiders vibrate threads of the web of their prospective partner, communicating that it is not prey.

7- Functions of Communication

Agonistic interaction –thread displays during competition over food, mates, or territory.
Mating rituals- to attract and maintain the attention of potential mates.
Ownership/ territoriality – to claim or defend territory.
Food-related signals- to lead members of a social group to a food source.
Alarm calls- to warn of a threat from a predator.


what is the study of animal communication and behavior? Animals communicate, which involves information transfer from the sender to a receiver.
Moreover, They can convey their needs, desires, and reactions to the environment via some sophisticated signaling of their own.
However, no animals have evolve the sophistication of the human language a communication system.
Understanding animal communication is essential for understanding the animal world in general.