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214

communication

OLogy Series
biology
card
214

communication

OLogy Series
biology

Like humans, animals need to communicate with each other. Through sight, touch, sound, smell, and even electrical pulses, animals have developed a variety of ways to communicate. Animals use signals to communicate. They use them to attract mates, scare away predators, defend their territories, or to communicate with family groups or other members of the same species.

An Ocean Symphony
Although we often think of the ocean as a silent world, many marine animals use a variety of sounds to communicate. Whales and dolphins communicate with other family members with complex underwater squeaks, whistles, clicks, and groans that sometimes can be heard hundreds of miles away. In fact, water is a great conductor of sound. Sound vibrations travel through water just as they travel through air, but five times faster! Like land animals, marine organisms create sounds for lots of reasons. Sounds are used to attract mates, communicate danger, and scare away predators. For example, the Atlantic croaker fish makes a drumming sound by vibrating its swim bladders. Croakers use this sound to defend themselves, but it also comes in handy during mating season, when it helps them locate a mate.

Which of the following is a form of communication?

One animal biting another.

A whale keeping in physical contact with her calf.

Both

Are you right?

Correct!

Both are forms of communication involving touch. Although they rarely have direct contact, fish often rely on a very special sense of touch when swimming in schools. They can sense the vibrations produced by the movement of the fish around them.

Humans are the only animals that use sound to communicate.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Many animals communicate with sounds, from a dog barking to a bird singing to a dolphin squeaking. Some animals can even make sounds that humans can’t hear!

An animal’s color is a form of communication.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Some animals, like goldfinches, use their vibrant yellow color to attract mates. The poisonous poison-dart frog uses bright colors to warn other animals to stay away.

Term: communication
Definition: when one animal uses signals to send information to another animal
Reasons to use it: to attract mates, scare away predators, defend territories, and communicate with family groups or other members of the same species
Types: visual, touch, sounds, electrical, chemical
Cool fact: Sharks can detect the electrical pulses of fish hiding beneath the sand on the seafloor.

Image credits: Alpha English Academy.