Visual Signaling in Animals

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Animals use a variety of sensory modalities (e.g., sight, sound, touch) to communicate, and the visual sense has perhaps generated the most fascination among biologists and lay people alike. Both behavioral and morphological traits serve visual signaling roles in all major taxa, and this article reviews key neural and endocrine pathways that control the most common behavioral signals (e.g., aggression, parental care, courtship) and morphological signals (e.g., colors, patterns, enlarged structures). It also highlights the need for an improved understanding of the neural machinery that processes and decodes the signaling information that is perceived and acted on by con- or heterospecifics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier Ltd.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080450469
StatePublished - 2009


  • Aggression
  • Androgen
  • Catecholamines
  • Color patterns
  • Coloration
  • Courtship behavior
  • Estrogen
  • Ornamental traits
  • Parental behavior
  • Peptide hormone
  • Prolactin
  • Signal perception
  • Steroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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