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Annales Zoologici Fennici


action component, recognition systems, kin recognition


The action component of recognition systems is concerned with the response of an evaluator to perceived cues, based on the dissimilarity of those cues compared with a template. Building upon the historical focus on kin recognition, we apply the framework of conspecific acceptance thresholds to recognition in a broader sense, including interactions within and between organisms, between species, and between living and nonliving things. We review examples from a variety of taxa and recognition contexts to demonstrate when a discriminatory response is expected, and how this response may be flexible depending on the costs and benefits of recognition errors and the interaction rate with cue-bearers in a given environment. Investigation of response flexibility must incorporate natural and life history data as well as controlled laboratory studies whenever possible in order to separate flexibility due to perceptual differences from shifting acceptance thresholds.