Signalers and Receivers: Mechanisms and Evolution of Arthropod Communication

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In most terrestrial and aquatic habitats, the vast majority of animals transmitting and receiving communicative signals are arthropods. This book presents the story of how this important group of animals use pheromones, sound, vibration, and light for sexual and social communication. Because of their small to minute body size most arthropods have problems sending and receiving acoustic and optical information, each of which have their own severe constraints. Because of these restraints they have developed chemical signaling which is not similarly limited by scale. Presenting the latest theoretical and experimental findings from studies of signaling, it suggests that close parallels between arthropods and vertebrates reflect a very limited number of solutions to problems in behavior that are available within the confines of physical laws.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] valuable resource ... Greenfield has done a thoughtful, excellent job of highlighting the central theoretical issues and selecting salient examples from this huge literature. ... a valuable addition to the literature on animal communication."—Nature

"To achieve rapid advances in our understanding of animal communication, there is no more powerful combination of tools than a first-hand knowledge of natural history, a mastery of the pertinent scientific literature, and an insightful evolutionary perspective. ... Signalers and Receivers ... has it all. ... The author does a particularly good job of presenting the physical characteristics of and constraints on each channel of communication. ... this book is packed with information that is accurate and up to date. ... The greatest value of this book, and perhaps what makes it unique, is Greenfield's clear delineation of the limits of our knowledge, which suggests many new lines for future research."—The Quarterly Review of Biology

"This book is very clearly written and the author has made great efforts to ensure that each chapter, following a short introductory chapter, stands on its own with a minimum of cross-referencing...This book [is] fascinating reading for the comparative physiologists and neuroscientists." —IPHYSIOLOGYNEWS

From The Critics
In his exploration of communication in the Lilliputian world of the arthropod classes represented respectively by spiders, centipedes, crustaceans, and insects, Greenfield (biological sciences, U. of Kansas, NE) applies signal theory to the signals; signal characters; and chemical, mechanical, and visual channels of communication of these non-vertebrates. The final chapters explain the likely co- evolution of female receptivity advertisement and male signal receiver bias via sexual selection. Includes a glossary of terms, and a taxonomic as well as subject index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195134520
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Symbols
1. Communication in a Lilliputian World
2. Signal Theory and the Language of Communication
3. Chemical Signaling and the Olfactory Channel
4. Sound and Vibration and the Mechanical Channel
5. Bioluminescence and Reflected Light and the Visual Channel
6. Sexual Selection and the Evolution of Signals
7. Signal Evolution: Modification and Diversification
Taxonomic Index
Subject Index

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