In the Classroom
Being able to get messages across to one another is vital to the survival and continued existence of all species on Earth
EVER wondered why a cat rubs against your legs? Why does it seem as if ants follow an invisible line to a food source? What are birds saying to one another so early in the morning?
Unlike humans, animals don’t use words to speak to one another. Parrots that “talk” are only mimicking us – they don’t understand what the words mean.
But animals do communicate – about food, friendship, procreation and to warn one another about danger.
Communication is the process by which information is sent and received. Animals use a variety of signals to pass on information.
The forms these signals take also vary widely.
Female moths discharge pheromones (a chemical substance) to let male moths know it’s time to mate. Male moths use cells on their antennae to pick up the scent from up to 90m away. This male chameleon has made itself brightly coloured to attract a mate. Rivals also flash bright colours at one another until the weaker male gives up. This chimpanzee isn’t smiling to show it is friendly. This is a fear grimace to show submission to the male leader of the troop.