Communication is the process by which one animal can do transmission of information from one animal to another one leading to a type of change in the recipient animal. Observation has shown that communication is normally between animals that belong to the same species but that does not stop it from also happening in animals that do not belong to the same species.
It is possible for animals to communicate making use of signals like audio cues, visual, chemical (as seen with pheromones), or tactile (dependent on touch). Communication helps the animals in a lot of ways like locating mates, defending territorial claims, establishing of dominance, caring for the young and coordination of group behavior.
If you have ever thought about how ants are able to locate invisible marks to food sources or why male dogs are able to mark their zones by simply urinating on bushes or around lamp posts, it means you are paying attention to animal communication. The same thing for those who are amazed with the chirping of birds but wonder how birds use that in their communication.
Forms of Animal Communication
Communication, in this context, is an apparent reference to animal behavior, and it has been defined as the process by which information in transmitted from one animal to the next via the formation of a response or change in the recipient animal.
Communication most likely occurs between animals that belong to the same species but as hinted earlier, it can also happen between animals that are of various species. A good example is when your dog keeps barking at you in the hope of a delicious treat. There are some animal species that are very social in nature and they cohabit in groups while interacting on a regular and constant basis. For these animals, communication is paramount in ensuring social cohesion and organization. But that said, even animals considered to be loners also need some degree of communication, even if it is just for them to seek a mate.
Examples of Animal Communication
Ants make use of chemical substances known as pheromones for them to communicate in their societies. With the pheromones, ants can pass messages about their roles or status in the society, and it is observed that ants of the same caste respond accordingly. When an ant is squashed, it releases a massive burst of pheromones that travel in the air to warn other ants of impending danger or trigger them to mobilize and sting all threats.
Birds are not the only animals that can communicate by making use of sounds as monkeys also do the same. Monkeys can let out a loud warning cry to the others whenever a predator is around the corner. This alarm is to notify the other monkeys and give them that much-needed chance for them to escape. Scientists have observed vervet monkeys to be even so sophisticated that they have different calls for various predators.
Visual communication is used extensively by chimpanzees and just as the name implies, it involves the use of signals that can be seen. These visual signals include facial expressions, coloration, body postures and gestures. In chimpanzees, they make use of this form of communication by raising their upper limbs whenever there is a threat, they slap the ground or even decide to just stare directly and intensely at a mate. These visual postures and gestures are regularly used by chimpanzees for their mating rituals and they also make use of other visual cues like flashing bright colors during displays to impress the opposite sex.
Chimpanzees also use visual communication to pass vital information across in some of the chimpanzee species studied by researchers. A good example of this is the one referred to as the fear grin and it is displayed on the face of the young chimpanzee as a kind of submission. The fear grin is often utilized by young chimps when they are moving close to the most powerful male in the troop, and it shows that they accept his dominance.