Visual Communication - Zoopsychology and Comparative Psychology

Visual Communication

Sight plays a huge role in the life of animals. This is one of the important sensory channels that connect them to the outside world. While sound signals can be perceived by animals at a sufficiently large distance, and olfactory ones are quite informative and in the absence of other individuals in the field of vision or hearing, visual signals can operate only at a relatively short distance. A key role in visual communication is played by postures and body movements, through which animals report their intentions. In many cases, such poses are supplemented by sound signals.

At a relatively large distance, alarms can emerge in the form of flickering white spots: a tail or spot on the reindeer's tail, the tails of rabbits, seeing that representatives of the same species fling without even seeing the source of danger. Communication with visual signals is especially characteristic of vertebrates, cephalopods and insects, i.e. for animals with well developed eyes. It is interesting to note that color vision is almost universal for all groups, except for most mammals. Bright colorful coloring of some fish, reptiles and birds strikingly contrasts with universal gray, black and brown coloration of most mammals. Many arthropods have well-developed color vision, but nevertheless visual signaling is not very common, although color signals are used in demonstrations of courtship, for example, in butterflies or inviting crabs.

In vertebrates, visual communication has a particularly important role for the process of communication between individuals. Practically in all of their taxonomic groups there are many ritualized movements, poses and whole complexes of fixed actions that play the role of key stimuli for the realization of many forms of instinctive behavior.

The visual analyzer consists of a perceiving device - eyes, conducting paths - visual nerve and the visual center in the cerebral cortex.

The eye is the peripheral part of the visual analyzer. In visual perception, an important role is played by movements of the head and eyeballs, allowing for directional study of the object and reviewing the environment. The motor vehicle of the eyeball constitutes a network of muscles. The inner contents of the eye are: the vascular tract, the mesh shell with its pigment layer, the lens, the vitreous. In addition, the eye contains watery moisture, constantly circulating and filling the stroma of the vitreous , rear and front cameras.

Eyeball - paired organ located in front of orbit and shaped like a ball, somewhat flattened from front to back. The eyeball is covered with three shells, forming its wall and limiting its internal contents. The fibrous membrane is external and is represented by sclera (connective tissue membrane), which in the anterior part of the eye passes into cornea.

Under the sclera lies the choroid, rich in blood vessels that feed the eyeball and has a large number of pigment cells - melanocytes, due to which it has a black color. There is a special reflective membrane (mirror, tapetum) on top of the choroid, on which the glow of the eye in animals depends. The vascular envelope, reaching the cornea, descends in the form of a rounded plate with a hole in the middle. This plate is called the iris, and the hole is the pupil. The iris contains pigment granules, from the size, shape and the distribution of which depends on the color of the eyes. The pupil performs the same functions as the aperture in the camera. With strong illumination of the retina, it reflexively tapers, with a weak one it expands. Thus, the optimum amount of light is supplied to the internal environment of the eye. Deeper lies the pigmented membrane and even deeper - the retina with visual cells - rods and cones. The lens is attached to the pupil at the back, attached by special lens-like (cinnamon) ligaments to the muscular ciliary body. Ahead of the pupil is the front eye chamber with watery moisture, behind, between the back of the iris and the lens, the rear eye chamber. Further, behind the lens is placed the vitreous body filling the cavity of the eyeball. At the point of departure from the bottom of the eye nerve is a blind spot, and near it is a yellow spot, the place of the most clear vision.

As the protective formations of the eye are the eyelids lined with a mucous membrane - conjunctiva. Eyelids are equipped with eyelashes, the purpose of which is to prevent clogging of the eyes. In the outer corner of the eye there is a lacrimal gland, the discharge of which bathes the eye and drains through the lacrimal canal into the nasal cavity.

The refractive structures of the eye form a system of specialized entities. Transparent cornea has a convex shape. Behind the iris there is a transparent biconvex body - the lens. It is the main part of the eye that refracts the light. The shape of the lens changes in the process of accommodation to the vision of proximate or distant objects. When the animal looks afar, the ciliary muscle relaxes, and the ligaments of the lens stretch - this causes the lens to flatten. In the event that the subject is at a close distance, the ciliary muscle contraction occurs, as a result of which the lens ligaments relax and the lens as an elastic body assumes a more convex shape. The greatest ability for accommodation is possessed by primates, the smallest - by species leading a nocturnal life.

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