Special Issue "Animal Communication"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Emeritus Prof. Lesley J. Rogers, B.Sc.(Hons), D.Phil., D.Sc., FAA

School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: lateralization of brain and behaviour in vertebrates and invertebrates; development of lateralization; evolution of lateralization; function of brain asymmetry; communication in birds and primates

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For decades researchers have studied the ways in which animals communicate by sending and receiving signals in the visual, auditory, tactile and chemical modalities. More recently, communication via electric signals has been studied in electric fish and communication using seismic signals has been recognised although far less studied.

Communication is essential to the development and maintenance of social systems in vertebrates and invertebrates. It is used in a variety of situations, including courtship, advertising the presence of food or territory, conveying anger and aggression, and in parent-offspring interaction. In some species, vocal communication is used to alert conspecifics to the presence of a predator, often as referential signals sent intentionally and conveying information about the type of predator. Vocal turn-taking is of recent research interest, as it either mimics, or is the precursor to, human language. Indeed, mimicry in its own right is relevant to this special issue.

Communication can be either honest or deceptive depending on context. Communication within and between species is shaped by both the social and physical environment; a recently studied example of the latter is the potential influence of background noise (e.g., that produced by wind or waves, and anthropocentric noise) on the vocalisations of birds, insects and other animals.

This special issue is interested in both reviews and research papers on all aspects of communication, signal production and processing, in vertebrate and invertebrate species, including non-verbal communication in humans. It is also interested in the neural processes involved in both producing and processing signals and in learning the meaning of signals. This includes papers on specialisations of both the central nervous system and the peripheral organs that channel the perception of, and response to, signals.

Prof. Lesley J. Rogers
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • perception of signals
  • receptor filtering
  • processing of signals
  • response to signals
  • social systems
  • communication networks
  • evolution of communication
  • meaning of signals
  • referential signals
  • mimicry
  • modality specificity
  • multimodal communication
  • flexibility
  • context dependence
  • learning
  • neural processes involved

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Spontaneous Learning of Visual Structures in Domestic Chicks
Animals 2018, 8(8), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080135
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
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Abstract
Effective communication crucially depends on the ability to produce and recognize structured signals, as apparent in language and birdsong. Although it is not clear to what extent similar syntactic-like abilities can be identified in other animals, recently we reported that domestic chicks can
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Effective communication crucially depends on the ability to produce and recognize structured signals, as apparent in language and birdsong. Although it is not clear to what extent similar syntactic-like abilities can be identified in other animals, recently we reported that domestic chicks can learn abstract visual patterns and the statistical structure defined by a temporal sequence of visual shapes. However, little is known about chicks’ ability to process spatial/positional information from visual configurations. Here, we used filial imprinting as an unsupervised learning mechanism to study spontaneous encoding of the structure of a configuration of different shapes. After being exposed to a triplet of shapes (ABC or CAB), chicks could discriminate those triplets from a permutation of the same shapes in different order (CAB or ABC), revealing a sensitivity to the spatial arrangement of the elements. When tested with a fragment taken from the imprinting triplet that followed the familiar adjacency-relationships (AB or BC) vs. one in which the shapes maintained their position with respect to the stimulus edges (AC), chicks revealed a preference for the configuration with familiar edge elements, showing an edge bias previously found only with temporal sequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Communication)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Food Calls in Common Marmosets, Callithrix jacchus, and Evidence That One Is Functionally Referential
Animals 2018, 8(7), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070099
Received: 28 May 2018 / Revised: 17 June 2018 / Accepted: 18 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
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Abstract
We studied three calls of common marmosets, Callithrix jacchus, elicited in the context of food. Call A, but not B or C, had been described previously as a food call. We presented insects (live mealworms or crickets) and fruit (banana or blueberries)
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We studied three calls of common marmosets, Callithrix jacchus, elicited in the context of food. Call A, but not B or C, had been described previously as a food call. We presented insects (live mealworms or crickets) and fruit (banana or blueberries) and used playbacks of calls. We found that Call C was produced only in response to seeing insects, and not fruit; it consistently signaled the availability of insects (includes mealworms), and more so when this food could be seen but not consumed. Playback of Call C caused the marmosets to stop feeding on a less preferred food (banana) and, instead, go to inspect a location where mealworms had been found previously, providing evidence that it has referential meaning. No such immediate response was elicited on hearing Call A or background noise. Call A differed from C in that it was produced more frequently when the marmosets were consuming the food than when they could only see it, and call A showed no specificity between insects and fruit. Call B was emitted less frequently than the A or C calls and, by the marmosets that were tested alone, most often to crickets. An audience effect occurred, in that all three calls were emitted more often when the marmosets were tested alone than when in pairs. Recognition of the functional significance of marmoset calls can lead to improved husbandry of marmosets in captivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Communication)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Communication in Dogs
Animals 2018, 8(8), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080131
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 28 July 2018 / Published: 31 July 2018
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Abstract
Dogs have a vast and flexible repertoire of visual, acoustic, and olfactory signals that allow an expressive and fine tuned conspecific and dog–human communication. Dogs use this behavioural repertoire when communicating with humans, employing the same signals used during conspecific interactions, some of
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Dogs have a vast and flexible repertoire of visual, acoustic, and olfactory signals that allow an expressive and fine tuned conspecific and dog–human communication. Dogs use this behavioural repertoire when communicating with humans, employing the same signals used during conspecific interactions, some of which can acquire and carry a different meaning when directed toward humans. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the latest progress made in the study of dog communication, describing the different nature of the signals used in conspecific (dog–dog) and heterospecific (dog–human) interactions and their communicative meaning. Finally, behavioural asymmetries that reflect lateralized neural patterns involved in both dog–dog and dog–human social communication are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Communication)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Cognitive Components of Vocal Communication: A Case Study
Animals 2018, 8(7), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070126
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Communication among nonhuman animals is often presented as rigid and inflexible, reflecting emotional states rather than having any cognitive basis. Using the world’s smallest monkey, the pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea), with the smallest absolute brain size amongst simian primates as a
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Communication among nonhuman animals is often presented as rigid and inflexible, reflecting emotional states rather than having any cognitive basis. Using the world’s smallest monkey, the pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea), with the smallest absolute brain size amongst simian primates as a case study, I review the role of cognition in the development and usage of vocalizations in pygmy marmosets and present new data on the instrumental use of babbling and of food associated vocalizations. Pygmy marmosets have several contact calls that differ in the psychoacoustic properties for sound localization as well as the distance at which they carry through the rainforest. Marmosets use these calls strategically based on distance from neighbors. Marmosets alter spectral and temporal aspects of call structure when exposed to new groups and when newly mated. They display population specific vocal dialects. Young pygmy marmosets engage in extensive babbling behavior rewarded by parents that helps the young develop adult vocal structures, but older monkeys also use babbling instrumentally in conflict situations. Specific food referential calls generally relate to food preferences, but food calls are suppressed in the presence of animate prey. Unmated animals systematically combine a long distance call with food calls as though advertising for mates. Taken together, these examples show that even small brained primates use their vocal signals flexibly and strategically in response to a variety of environmental and social conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Communication)
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