The set of actions performed by an organism within a given environment

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How octopus develops its imitation skill?

I've watched one documentary about a Mimic octopus which they can imitate another animals in several form e.g. a Lion fish, a Sea snake, a Flatfish, etc. My question is how these octopuses can have ...
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3answers
57 views

How do birds avoid mid-air collision?

Across from me there is a large flick of Pigeons and Ravens that like to nest on the roof. They swoop and dive and fly all over. Sometimes the whole flock lifts off at once. My question is, how do ...
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34 views

Why do orcas eat only the tongue of whales, liver of sharks, etc.?

I noticed that although killer whales are clearly the top predator living in the present oceans, some of them appear to be very picky with their meals. After spending hours hunting down a whale, ...
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1answer
30 views

Do “virgin” ant queens ever shed their wings?

In species that reproduce sexually, if an ant queen goes on a nuptial flight and does not successfully mate, will she still shed her wings and try to found a colony (although she probably won't ...
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1answer
63 views

Why do crabs spit?

Last year I photographed this juvenile Sally Lightfoot Crab (Grapsus grapsus) 'spitting' (click for larger view): I thought I'd look up more information on this behavior, but couldn't find any ...
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1answer
69 views

Is there a schema for how human behavior is genetically determined?

It seem one can distinguish three different kinds of genetic determinism of common patterns of human behavior: behavior that is directly wired into our nervous system, e.g. face-related mirror ...
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1answer
945 views

Can beavers control the direction a tree falls?

We humans can easily control the direction a tree falls by making a number of strategic cuts, essentially creating a hinge: This prevents trees from falling on equipment and people and sets them up ...
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1answer
87 views

How significant is the genetic component of homosexual behaviour?

From some basic googling, I found that nobody has ever proven that people are born gay and that environment plays a great part in homosexuality. I wish to know if there is a genetic component to ...
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1answer
38 views

Crow branch pecking behaviour

I was walking through a small park when two crows started cawing at me, and followed me, flying from tree-to-tree as I walked. I speculate that this is a territorial or protective behaviour, but what ...
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1answer
76 views

Why do surface mole tunnels follow directly below the electric fenceline

I have electric fencing enclosing five acres, and moles always seem to tunnel in a straight line just under the electric fence - are they following a force field? Can that be?
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1answer
76 views

How are behaviors genetically coded in animals?

I am curious as to how complex behavior is passed down genetically? For example, how is the building of a web genetically coded in a spider? And how is the complex behavior of constricting prey coded ...
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1answer
80 views

Do any birds have established “poke a predator's eyes out” behavior?

Is there a pattern/tactics of behavior in any birds species that consists of attacking a predator's eyes with its beak? I'm looking for established tactics, not 1 or 2 anecdotal examples.
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1answer
62 views

Advantages of gregarious vs solitary behaviour?

I'm trying to explain why birds (specifically wildfowl) are gregarious during the winter and solitary during the summer. I think that in winter, birds are gregarious to reduce the risk of predation ...
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1answer
33 views

How is instinct carried from one generation to another?

How can non-structural information, specifically instinct (a fixed pattern of behavior that an organism reverts to as a response to certain stimuli), be passed on from generation to generation (such ...
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1answer
76 views

Do ant colonies prioritize survival of particular members above others?

In some (perhaps small) human communities people may starve because they have no income. This could be interpreted as a consequence of them not participating in the community, hence they don't get any ...
2
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1answer
69 views

How does the ideal free distribution work?

I have recently completed a study on Brent Goose. I found that Brent Geese occupy high quality habitat first then once this is full of geese, they fill up low quality habitat. However, there were ...
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2answers
164 views

How to name such grouping behaviour?

Under which keyword would you try to find out more about the grouping behaviour which looks like this? Does anybody recognizes such behaviour, or know an animal species which uses it? My tries: ...
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3answers
256 views

Are domesticated animals really “more intelligent,” or is that a myth/misunderstanding?

Often do I hear people speaking of how the domestic house cats are more friendly, less ferocious, less savage-like, and smarter and/or than their distinct but equivalent feline-species friends, like ...
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1answer
69 views

Why do some animals try to imitate other animals?

There is a tendency of some animals (including people!) to be "copy-cats" and try to imitate members of their own, and sometimes other, species. The most obvious example is a parrot copying human ...
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2answers
45 views

Why not use non-visual self-recognition to test for consciousness in an organism?

Background A well-known test for consciousness in an organism is to observe its ability to recognise itself in a mirror (see wikipedia article: "Mirror test"). Question Why haven't I come across a ...
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58 views

What is the biological basis of “energy” that extraverted humans draw from social engagements and introverts expend?

This question is related to this question about introverts becoming exhausted after extended social events on cognitive sciences stack exchange. As I read more on the topic of human ...
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0answers
52 views

When birds fly in V-formation, how is it decided which bird gets to be the 'lead bird'?

I've read on Wikipedia and in other sources that the lead position alternates due to flight fatigue, but does it alternate between a small cabal of of leadership birds, or does (almost) every bird get ...
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1answer
136 views

Why do chameleons move back and forth?

I was always curious, why do chameleons have this strange gait?
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2answers
77 views

Animal swimming styles

Can a frog swim on its back, or it can use only the classic frog style? Does any (not specifically marine) animal exist with many different swimming styles, just like humans?
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43 views

Do animals have social status as humans in our society?

As our society and it's functioning is closely related to the ones of animals, one question arises: Do animals in nature have social status as humans? People often display it publicly, by buying nice ...
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1answer
76 views

Book-recommendation: Ethology

I am looking for a book that covers the following topics in ethology: Behaviour Sensory filtering, reponsive-ness, sign stimuli, learning and memory, instinct, habituation, conditioning, ...
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101 views

Why do baby mammals tend to play? [closed]

Why do babies of any mammal tend to play ? From humans to small dog pups, cubs of a lion, baby bears, etc. *I am not sure if the tag I chose is correct or not. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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1answer
117 views

Can mosquitos bite in self-defense?

When chasing away wasps or bees there is a danger of them stinging us in self-defense. Can a similar danger arise when chasing away a mosquito which is otherwise not hungry? I understand that ...
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2answers
7k views

Do ants or other insects sleep, and if so why?

I was thinking yesterday about insects (as there was a spider in the house, and I couldn't help but think of anything else, even though they aren't insects), and I started to wonder if ants sleep? ...
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1answer
267 views

Is greed an evolved trait?

I am not a biologist, but I am fascinated by evolution. I was watching the news this morning and, as so often is the case, there was a news story about a corrupt politician who was accepting ...
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1answer
32 views

Pollinator mating system in orchids

I came across three terms in an article on pseudocopulation. However I don't quite understand what it means. They are: 1) solitary and haplodiploid 2) social and haplodiploid 3) diploid These ...
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2answers
134 views

What does this Barbary Macaque facial expression mean?

A girl pretended having a piece of food in her hand and pointed it to a Barbary Macaque in Gibraltar. As a response he made this facial expression to her. What does this mean?
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2answers
594 views

Animal altruism?

My first impression of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za4uT1ob8qE is that the baboons were being altruistic and benevolent, but is this guess proven or affirmed by science? I sense there's more to ...
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1answer
63 views

How to measure trajectory regularity?

I have two animal running trajectories. A regular one with repeated back and forth running between point A and B, like the one on top in the figure. The other one is very irregular, animal paused and ...
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1answer
31 views

Book recommendation on mammal (or just primate) behaviour, especially in relation to child-rearing

I have a growing frustration with the lows 'new-age' parenting is reaching, along with asininity of so much of our public schools' (and summer camps') philosophies and policies in relation to our ...
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1answer
810 views

What “emotions” can a snake feel?

Short: Thinking in particular of a Royal Python (US: Ball Python) such as some people keep as exotic companion animals, what sorts of "emotions" or "feelings" are they capable of? Long: ...
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0answers
222 views

Are insects attracted to near infrared light?

Do insects see near infrared light? If yes, are they attracted to it at night, as they are to visible light sources? I am building something similar to a home-made trailcam with a Raspberry Pi ...
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5answers
294 views

Theoretically, is domestication of (virtually) any animal possible?

Looking at ones that manage well alongside us human animals, such as dogs and cats, we see that this is possible for evolved, distant animals to have heritable, preferable traits around people. ...
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1answer
194 views

Why do flies fly in circles?

Lying on my bed, doing nothing I recently noticed flies usually fly in small circles, right under my ceiling lamp. Worth noting - the lamp was off as it was middle of a day. And those flies kept ...
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60 views

Solunar theory of animal activity

Solunar theory, which states that animal activity in wild (fishes, deer) depends on position of sun and moon in sky. Based on the solunar calender, hunters seek for optimal time for hunting fishes. ...
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1answer
141 views

Is there a hormone combination that makes humans grumpy?

Imagine a typical situation that is likely to give rise to a bad temper within an individual: a person is awoken very early in the morning by a sound of a lawn being mowed next door. Unlike expected ...
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1answer
67 views

What happens to human dopaminergic reward system once a teenager becomes adult?

I've recently heard a podcast which explained teenage impulsivity and novelty seeking in part by "Lowering the baseline dopamine activity in the reward system" "Increase in dopaminergic reward in ...
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1answer
83 views

Do insomniacs yawn?

According to wikipedia, the jury is still out on the function a yawn serves. The article referenced above however writes to say Yawning most often occurs in adults immediately before and after ...
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1answer
44 views

psychological database with sequenced DNA records

I'm looking for an epigenetic database which includes for each example the psychological history of the persons DNA. Right now I can only find DNA and epigenetic databases. Sadly none of the databases ...
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0answers
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Why do we yawn seeing others yawn [duplicate]

If I see another person yawning, I definitely feel to yawn. Why is that so? What are the activities that happen in our brain which tell us to yawn?
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2answers
1k views

Are humans an eusocial species?

In the evolution of sociality among animals, different degrees are acknowledged. Some species present overlapping generations, some division of labor, and the minority present reproductive division. ...
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1answer
103 views

Current human behavior as a genetic heritage

People: I have doubts about genetic heritage, but let me explain the context which has shown up this doubt for you: I was debating about sexism and the following question were put on the discussion: ...
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4answers
531 views

How come most animals never seem to evolve over millenia?

People often say, including those with extensive knowledge in biology, that a certain species of animal will evolve in one way or another: 1.From changing environments. 2.Mutations. 3.Possibly even ...
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2answers
139 views

Chills down the spine with certain music?

I am sure many of us know the feeling of that tingling chill down our spines when listening to certain music. I experienced this most when my younger brother played an emotional piano piece for a ...
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2answers
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Do animals suffer from “Human” mental disorders?

It is tragic, but apparently Killer whales and Dolphins can commit suicide too (e.g. here)... This suggests they can become depressed. I wondered whether they were "clinically" depressed like many ...