Essential Animal Behavior: An introduction
-the field of animal behavior is diverse and may be studied from a variety of
-it is useful to consider behaviors as adaptations
-a single behavior will not serve, or serve the same purpose in all situations, and
behaviors are adapted to be effective in the environment of the animal performing them
-it is wrong to think of an animal behavior as a general interest or a purely academic
subject. The study of animal behavior is an important science which has a clear applied
Cephalopod Inking Behavior
-many species of octopus and squid release a cloud of ink into the water forming a dummy
squid termed a pseudomorph.
-only works in the ocean. Obviously cant be done in air.
-some other species wouldn’t use the inky-black pseudomorph in deep ocean depth because
it wouldn’t be seen. So instead they secrete a luminescent ink, creating a brief a flash of
light which is thought to confuse a potential predator just long enough for an escape to be
-this all emphasizes:
-behaviors are adaptations which serve specific functions
-a single behavior may not serve, or serve the same function in all
What is behavior?
-made to happen by something
-Define Behavior: a property of all living things and whenever we observe an animal to be
enganged in any activity (voluntary or involuntary) we are witnessing behavior
Approaches to the study of animal behavior
-the effective study of an animal behavior requires observation and experimentation
-first observe the behavior in its natural context and in its entirety.
-careful description of a behavior pattern or sequence of behavior allows us to
identify all of the relevant components and to link their performances to the wider context
of the physical and biological environment of the animal. Thus allowing us to develop our
own ideas about the behavior, to speculate upon its function, and upon the factors which
-Animal behavior can be studied at two key levels
-physiological level we might be interested in the mechanism by which a behavior
actually occurs. Exs. Biochemistry, nerves, muscles, and senses of an animal interact to
result in a particular behavior.
-Whole animal and world external to it. At this level we might consider the
performances of a behavior in relation to the environment in which it is performed, to the
wider ecology of the animal, or to its social experiences. Could be carried out in the field or
-development of process of the study of animal behavior using computers
- Via computer models behavior can be simulated, and “experiments” carried out and
evaluated without the involvement of any animal (other than the human operator) and
often at a fraction of the cost of a more traditional line of investigation.
- a model is only as good as the data provided to it, will never replace the study of
-Models enable us to full explore behavior
Asking questions in the study of behavior