Animal Cognition

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 69–79

Socially guided behaviour in non-insect invertebrates

  • Sandra J. Webster
  • Graziano Fiorito

DOI: 10.1007/s100710100108

Cite this article as:
Webster, S.J. & Fiorito, G. Anim.Cogn. (2001) 4: 69. doi:10.1007/s100710100108


A review of the past 50 years of literature on socially guided behaviour addresses two questions: (1) whether socially guided behaviour, which has traditionally been considered characteristic of vertebrates, is also found among non-insect invertebrates, and (2) to see whether our classification of socially guided behaviours in invertebrates matches, and thereby supports, A. Whiten and R. Ham's classification of vertebrate behaviours into two broad categories, social learning and social influence. We systematically reviewed the literature on socially guided behaviour in non-insect invertebrates to determine if social behaviours exist. Once this was established, we characterised our findings using 13 behavioural phenomena that are considered to be descriptive of socially guided behaviour. Using a multivariate technique, we then analysed the data to determine if our characterisation scheme produced a similar distribution to that presented by A. Whiten and R. Ham. Our results indicate that socially guided behaviours are present in invertebrates, and invertebrates can be placed into the previously established framework on vertebrate social behaviour. Further, our analysis reveals a prominent separation between representations of the social influence and social learning categories, thereby supporting the previously published framework on socially guided behaviour.

Social learning Social influence Social behaviour Invertebrates

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra J. Webster
    • 1
  • Graziano Fiorito
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biology, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, H3A 1B1, Canada
  2. 2.Stazione Zoologica "Anton Dohrn", Napoli, Italy
  3. 3.Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada, e-mail:, Tel.: +1-604-291-581, Fax: +1-604-291-3496