University of Oulu

Gatto, E., Loukola, O.J. & Agrillo, C. Quantitative abilities of invertebrates: a methodological review. Anim Cogn 25, 5–19 (2022).

Quantitative abilities of invertebrates : a methodological review

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Author: Gatto, Elia1; Loukola, Olli J.2; Agrillo, Christian1,3
Organizations: 1Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, Via Venezia 8, 35131, Padua, Italy
2Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, POB 3000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
3Padova Neuroscience Center, University of Padova, Padua, Italy
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-17


Quantitative abilities are widely recognized to play important roles in several ecological contexts, such as foraging, mate choice, and social interaction. Indeed, such abilities are widespread among vertebrates, in particular mammals, birds, and fish. Recently, there has been an increasing number of studies on the quantitative abilities of invertebrates. In this review, we present the current knowledge in this field, especially focusing on the ecological relevance of the capacity to process quantitative information, the similarities with vertebrates, and the different methods adopted to investigate this cognitive skill. The literature argues, beyond methodological differences, a substantial similarity between the quantitative abilities of invertebrates and those of vertebrates, supporting the idea that similar ecological pressures may determine the emergence of similar cognitive systems even in distantly related species.

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Series: Animal cognition
ISSN: 1435-9448
ISSN-E: 1435-9456
ISSN-L: 1435-9448
Volume: 25
Issue: 1
Pages: 5 - 19
DOI: 10.1007/s10071-021-01529-w
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: Open access funding provided by Università degli Studi di Padova within the CRUI-CARE Agreement. This research was funded by PRIN 2015 (grant number 2015FFATB7) from “Ministero dell'Istruzione, Università e Ricerca” (MIUR, Italy) to A.C. and by Academy of Finland (grant number 309995) to O.J.L.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 309995
Detailed Information: 309995 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit