Individual recognition: it is good to be different. Trends Ecol Evol

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, 830 N. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048, USA.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution (Impact Factor: 16.2). 11/2007; 22(10):529-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2007.09.001
Source: PubMed


Individual recognition (IR) behavior has been widely studied, uncovering spectacular recognition abilities across a range of taxa and modalities. Most studies of IR focus on the recognizer (receiver). These studies typically explore whether a species is capable of IR, the cues that are used for recognition and the specializations that receivers use to facilitate recognition. However, relatively little research has explored the other half of the communication equation: the individual being recognized (signaler). Provided there is a benefit to being accurately identified, signalers are expected to actively broadcast their identity with distinctive cues. Considering the prevalence of IR, there are probably widespread benefits associated with distinctiveness. As a result, selection for traits that reveal individual identity might represent an important and underappreciated selective force contributing to the evolution and maintenance of genetic polymorphisms.

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Available from: J. Dale, Jan 07, 2015
    • "The ability to remember and recognize other individuals in a group appears to be an advantage in species that live in complex social units (Casey et al. 2015; Moreira et al. 2013; Tibbetts and Dale 2007; Wiley 2013). Naturally, any type of sensory label that may convey information about the presence or motivational state of particular individuals is of enormous potential value, as it may enhance the recognition of kin, mates and allies and facilitate social interactions in open, dynamic animal societies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Whistles are key elements in the acoustic repertoire of bottlenose dolphins. In this species, the frequency contours of whistles are used as individual signatures. Assessing the long-lasting stability of such stereotyped signals, and the abundant production of non-stereotyped whistles in the wild, is relevant to a more complete understanding of their biological function. Additionally, studying the effects of group size and activity patterns on whistle emission rate may provide insights into the use of these calls. In this study, we document the decades-long occurrence of whistles with stereotyped frequency contours in a population of wild bottlenose dolphins, resident in the region of the Sado estuary, Portugal. Confirmed stereotypy throughout more than 20 years, and positive identification using the signature identification (SIGID) criteria, suggests that the identified stereotyped whistles are in fact signature whistles. The potential roles of non-stereotyped whistles, which represent 68 % of all whistles recorded, are still unclear and should be further investigated. Emission rates were significantly higher during food-related events. Finally, our data show a comparatively high overall whistle production for this population, and no positive correlation between group size and emission rates, suggesting social or environmental restriction mechanisms in vocal production.
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    • "We would also suggest that rather than individual recognition imposing cognitive costs, it is coordination and decision making across multiple modalities. Animals that are not typically considered cognitively complex can excel at recognizing individuals (reviewed by Tibbetts and Dale 2007), whereas solving group coordination and consensus decision-making problems are computationally expensive (Dávid-Barrett and Dunbar 2013). These costs should be exacerbated where individuals must process information from disparate sources (e.g., kinship group membership, physical condition, dominance rank, reproductive state, motivation). "

    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Behavioral Ecology
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    • "In the pied babbler (Turdoides bicolor), we have considerable evidence for social recognition (Humphries 2014). This fits with the hypothesis that Sheehan and Bergman acknowledge that species living in small stable social groups should develop social recognition (Tibbetts and Dale 2007). We also have considerable evidence for quality signaling. "

    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Behavioral Ecology
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