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Trends Ecol Evol. 2010 Jun;25(6):354-61. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Interspecific information transfer influences animal community structure.

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Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, University of Colombo, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka.


Acquiring information from the cues and signals of other species of the same trophic level is widespread among animals, and can help individuals exploit resources and avoid predators. But can such interspecific information transfer also influence the spatial structure of species within communities? Whereas some species use heterospecific information without changing their position, we review research that indicates that heterospecific information is a driving factor in the formation or maintenance of temporary or stable mixed-species groups. Heterospecific information can also influence the organization of such groups, including leadership. Further, animals sometimes select habitats using heterospecific information. We survey interspecific information transfer, and evaluate the morphological, ecological and behavioral factors that make some species information sources and others information seekers.

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