Biology Notes Chapter 51 Animal Behavior
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Animal Behavior - action carried out by muscle under control of the nervous system in response
to a stimulus.
In other words , its how an animal is designed to reaction to a situation.
Ex: a dog peeing to mark its territory
Behavior allows an organism to survive. Certain behaviors allow an animal to have an
advantage over others , thus natural selection "picks " certain behavior over others.
This evolution also effects the anatomy of animals . So if having a big threat allows an organism
to make a bigger / deeper noise to attract mates, then a species in general may have bigger
Concept 51.1 - Discrete Sensory Inputs can Stimulate Both Simple and Complex Behaviors
How to understand a behavior in 4 steps (Niko Tinbergen)
1. What stimulus starts/ causes/ triggers the behavior?how can the response be
physically carried out?
2. How does the animal's experience during growth and development influence the
3. How does this behavior help the animal survive and reproduce
4. What is the behavior's evolutionary history.
1 & 2 concern proximate causation - the how a behavior occurs.
3&4 concern Ultimate Causation- the "why" a behavior occurs ( natural selection)
Behavioral Ecology - study of ecological and evolutionary Basis for animal behavior
Fixed Action Patterns
Ex: male sticklebacks attacking any object or model with red color
Fixed action pattern: a sequence of unlearned acts directly linked to a simple
typically unchangeable , once this action is started it's finished
Sign Stimulus - Trigger for the behavior ( in the case of the stickleback fish , it’s the
color red apparently)
Environmental Stimuli also give cues for animals to carry out behaviors, like guiding
Migration - regular , long distance change in location.
How is this done ?
Some track position based on the sun , even though that changes throughout the day
They adjust for these changes by means of Circadian Clock - internal guide that has a
24 hour cycle.
other animals use the Ear