Animal Behavior

Animal Behavior

Introduction:
Ethology
is the study of animal behavior. Behavior is an animal’s response to sensory input, and falls into two basic categories: learned and innate (inherited).

Orientation behaviors place the animal in its most favorable environment. In taxis, the animal moves toward or away from a stimulus. Taxis is often exhibited when the stimulus is light, heat, moisture, sound, or chemicals. Kinesis is a movement that is random and does not result in orientation with respect to a stimulus. If an organism responds to bright light by moving away, that is a taxis. If an animal responds to bright light by random movements in all directions, that is kinesis.

Agonistic behavior is exhibited when animals respond to each other by aggressive or submissive responses. Often the agonistic behavior is simply a display that makes the organism look big or threatening. It is sometimes studied in the laboratory with Bettas (Siamese Fighting Fish).

Mating behaviors may involve a complex series of activities that facilitate finding, courting, and mating with a member of the same species.

Exercise 11A: General Observation of Behaviors
In this lab, you will be working with terrestrial isopods commonly known as pillbugs, sowbugs, or roly-polies. These organisms are members of the Phylum Arthropoda, Class Crustacea, which also includes shrimp and crabs. Most members of this group respire through gills.

Procedure:
1. Place 10 pillbugs and a small amount of bedding material in a small petri dish. They generally try to get out so cover the dish with plastic wrap or a petri dish cover.

2. Observe the pillbugs for 10 minutes. Make notes on their general appearance, movements about the dish, and interactions with each other. Notice if they seem to prefer one area over another, if they keep moving, settle down or move sporadically. Note any behaviors that involve 2 or more pillbugs. Do not interfere with the specimens in any way.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

3. Make a detailed sketch of a pillbug.

 

  

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

Kinesis in Pillbugs:
1. Prepare a choice chamber. The choice chamber consists of two large plastic petri dishes taped together with an opening cut in between. Several alternatives to this concept can be produced. Take 2 plastic petri dishes and cut out 1 , 1/2 inch openings at the side. Place the petri dishes together, matching the cut ends. Now tape the petri dishes together by placing a strip of tape under each one. The dishes now can be used to test for the variables.

2. Choose your variables to be tested: Moisture, light, and set up the adjacent room accordingly. Use a soft brush to transfer ten pillbugs from the stock culture into the center choice chamber. Cover all chambers being used.

3. Count how many pillbugs are on each side of the choice chamber every 30 seconds for 10 minutes. Record your data in Table 11.1. Continue to record even if they all move to one side or stop moving.

4. Return your pillbugs to the stock chamber.

5. Graph both the number of pillbugs in the wet chamber and the number in the dry chamber using the graph below.

 Table 11.1
 

Time (Mins)

Number in Wet Chamber

Number in Dry Chamber

Other Notes

0

 

 

 

0.5

 

 

 

1.0

 

 

 

1.5

 

 

 

2.0

 

 

 

2.5

 

 

 

3.0

 

 

 

3.5

 

 

 

4.0

 

 

 

4.5

 

 

 

5.0

 

 

 

5.5

 

 

 

6.0

 

 

 

6.5

 

 

 

7.0

 

 

 

7.5

 

 

 

8.0

 

 

 

8.5

 

 

 

9.0

 

 

 

9.5

 

 

 

10.0

 

 

 

Graph Title _____________________________________________

 

Graph 11.1

 

Analysis:
1. What conclusions do you draw from your data? Explain physiological reasons for the behavior observed in this activity.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

2. How do isopods locate appropriate environments?

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

3. If you suddenly turn a rock over and found isopods under it, what would you expect them to be doing? If you watch the isopods for a few minutes, how would you expect to see their behavior change?

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

4. Is the isopod’s response to moisture best classified as kinesis, or taxis? Explain your response.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

 Student-Designed Experiment to Investigate Pillbugs’ Response to Temperature, pH, Background Color, Light or Another Variable.

1. Select one of the variable factors above, and develop a hypothesis concerning the pillbug’s response to the factor.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

2. Use the material available in your classroom to design an experiment. Remember that heat is generated by lamps.

a). state the objective of your experiment.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

b). List the materials you will use.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

c). Outline your procedure in detail.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

3. Decide what data you will collect, and design your data sheet.

4. Run your experiment.

5. Make any graphical representation of your data that will help to visualize or interpret the data.

6. Write a conclusion based on your experimental results.

7. Return your isopods to the stock culture.