Animals Communicate With Color, Smells, Noise and Body Language
by Yesenia Martinez, age 11
Animals communicate in many different ways. Some of the ways they communicate are by using colors, movement, chemicals, and sounds.
One type of animal communication is color-coding. Creatures that are bad-tasting, poisonous, and those with painful stings or bites usually have brightly colored bodies. Predators soon learn to stay away from animals with bright colors. For example, the black and yellow stripes of the cinnabar caterpillar warn that it is poisonous. However, some animals use mimicry, which means they have bright colors, but are not poisonous, tricking predators into leaving them alone. Other animals show off colored body parts to attract a mate.
Many animals communicate by body language. They send a message by the way they hold their bodies, especially those that live in groups. For example, wolves are social animals that live in packs. Dominant wolves demonstrate their position in society by baring their teeth and holding their body straight. Subordinate wolves keep their ears flat and their tails tucked under their body. Bees also use their bodies to communicate, moving in patterns or dances to show where food can be found.
Releasing chemicals is another form of communication. To attract a mate, animals release pheromones in the air. To mark their territory, some animals spray urine or release chemicals into the air.
Making noise is another method of expression. Animals produce a wide variety of messages. The use different parts of the body to make sounds. When a bird chirps, it might be trying to attract a mate or warn other birds not to come near its territory. Some insects make sounds by stridulation, which is when an insect rubs together two body parts to make a shrill chirp or whine. There are many ways animals communicate with each other using their physical characteristics.