The study of animal behaviour.

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Do experiences shape actions of insects? Animals?

Would an insect behave differently to stimuli depending on what happened to them?
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Which behavior, in the evolution of human species, came first: organized sports or organized religion? [migrated]

In Brazil, and I believe that also in other countries, people will change their religion, but won't change their sports team. Would it have any root in biology? Perhaps because sports represent a much ...
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ID flying insect found in Belgium

I live in Belgium, and I've just witnessed a weird looking wasp/fly flying around in my room. Here's a picture: So, what's this? It's still in my room, just chilling there. It zooms like a wasp, ...
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Do ants use something similar to the honey bee “waggle dance” to instruct the rest of the colony where to find a food source?

In the 20 years since we built our home, we've just recently had our first ant infestation. I'm familiar with the fact that ants leave scent trails to find their way back and forth between the ...
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Do animals' facial expressions have similar meanings to humans'?

In the following pictures, the dog seems to be smiling to the camera. People staring at these picture also tend to feel comfortable and relaxed, presumably because they think it's very happy playing ...
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For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

I'm wondering for how long a raven can stay continuously airborne, if strained to do so? If it makes a difference, I'm mostly interested in the Common raven, Corvus corax. Are there for instance any ...
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Do clients of cleaner fish queue up?

I can't remember if I saw it in a cartoon, a documentary, or both, but the notion is that the clients of cleaner fish wait in line to be cleaned. "Clients" means the fish (or other aquatic animals) ...
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What if rB=C in hamilton's rule?

Hamilton's rule states that if rB>C then a gene giving altruistic behaviour will increase in frequency in the population. What would happen if rB=C? Will an individual perform the altruistic act?
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Do ants within a colony ever fight or come to conflict?

I'm investigating how hierarchical groups of a larger organization with a common goal tend to come to conflict with one another over time. As you decompose a large group (for example a corporation), ...
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Why do we laugh?

Why is it that the reaction we get from absurdity is laughter? Everyone does it, even babies. Is there a reason why it is our instinct to laugh when we see or hear something absurd/humorous
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How much to larvae eat? (1. general and 2. specifically larvae of the bread beetle stegobium paniceum)

I'm no biologist or anything and thus the question might seem odd, but I couldn't find an answer anywhere on the web. I'm looking for information about how much larvae eat. To be exact I need to ...
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Which animal that lives in the forest makes this noise?

Which animal makes this noise? Link to audio file The file was recorded next to a forest in Germany.
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Why would a mother reject her offspring if it has been “interfered” with by humans?

There was a recent incident at Yellowstone National Park in which tourists placed a bison calf in their vehicle, and that eventually led to the calf being euthanized. The National Park Service issued ...
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Dogs bark at familiar person in Santa costume. Why? Don't dogs trust smell over vision?

Last night 10 humans and 2 dogs spent Christmas together. At some point, one human dissappears for a few minutes and comes back wearing a full Santa outfit. Upon respawning, the dogs start barking ...
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Preferred criteria for new bee colony location

As a human I want a house with a roof, indoor plumbing, bug free, and make my wife happy. I don't want to drive too far to work, and it has to be well-suited for offspring. What are the criteria ...
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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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What makes an animal/species suitable for domestication/training?

Humans have domesticated all manner of creatures during the course of their civilization - dogs, horses, several types of cattle, varieties of birds, and perhaps others too. A prerequisite for an ...
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What is the average proportion of forager ants in a nest? Does it vary over species?

I am performing an experiment regarding differences in the learning ability of foragers and other ants. I need some info about number of forager ants for this.
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Is the male satin bowerbird's bower-building behavior innate?

The male satin bowerbird builds a stick structure, known as a bower (distinct from a nest), where courtship and mating take place. They curiously decorate their bowers using blue or shiny objects. ...
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What, if any, experimental evidence is there that flies rub their legs together in order to clean them? [duplicate]

Everybody's seen a fly rubbing its hands together like Mr Burns. And almost everybody's heard the standard explanation - that it's cleaning itself. Now, this is certainly a very plausible explanation, ...
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Do animals demonstrate target practice (i.e., playful accuracy behavior)?

Do animals demonstrate any sort of accuracy-motivated play? (please provide examples!) Consider most human sports and related hobbies. Most share the common goal of hitting a target or being accurate,...
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Are there any animals that gradually approaches the predator to search for food?

I was wondering if there is an animal (or insect, bird, etc.) that eventually comes close to its predator to search for food, but only does so if it couldn't find food in the environment it is in. So ...
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Why would a python go after such large prey?

Here's a Python eating a crocodile: (photo credit Tiffany Corlis) I read that most Pythons would go for smaller prey, around the size of a house cat, but that larger species enjoy crocodiles, deer ...
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What are some examples of small-scale physical phenomena that snakes fear?

What are some ways to use technology to repel snakes? One idea I was researching is low-frequency sound, which I read snakes could "feel" even though they are naturally deaf. Would this be a viable ...
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What are these two fruit flies doing?

When taking some pictures I accidentally captured two fruit flies doing this: The photos are unfortunately blurry, but from what I can tell, one fly approaches the other from behind, and something ...
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Is there any documented evidence for suicide among vertebrates other than humans?

Is there any documented evidence for suicide among vertebrates other than humans? Lemmings not accepted !
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Why Can't the passage of acquired behavior be considered acquired inheritance?

While reading about a cross-fostering experiment conducted on Male California mice and Peromyscus californicus, I came across the fact that the behavior acquired by a generation of mice due to foster-...
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Why do snails come out after the rain?

Many times, when there is rain after a long time, snails come out afterwards, and you can see snails and slugs everywhere! I have two questions: Why do they come out after the rain? Where are they ...
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Do reptiles hunt?

I encountered the following passage in the book The Art of Interactive Design by Criss Crawford (bold formatting is mine): [...] From stalking and evasion to the chase, the [interaction between ...
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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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Was this snake behaving abnormally?

This morning, I walked out front of my house to find a medium-sized snake balled up on my driveway beneath my motorcycle. I spotted it from my porch so I didn't walk any closer. I believe it was a ...
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Do any predatorial animals attempt to appear smaller?

There are many animals that have behaviors or characteristics to make themselves appear larger than they are as a defense mechanism, such as butterflies have large eye patterns on their wings. Are ...
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Any examples of animal behavior in response to meteor showers?

I just spent two nights observing the Perseids and was wondering whether any animals have been recorded to exhibit unusual behaviour in response to meteor showers. It is known that some animals ...
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Why do people and animals stretch out their bodies and what is causing this behaviour?

I noticed that my cat which is only 6 months old has started stretching its body from time to time. Then I thought that this motion doesn't seem very natural from another cat's viewpoint, so my cat ...
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Why do cats like enclosed spaces (e.g. boxes) so much?

A recent article doesn't reach a firm conclusion, but offers two possible explanations. Hiding is a behavioral strategy of the species to cope with environmental changes and stressors. It ...
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How did the tendency to perform death rituals evolve?

Both elephants and humans perform rituals when deaths occur. However, I do not see any evolutionary benefit of this. The rituals take time, which apparently could be better spent hunting, foraging, ...
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Are grasshoppers monogamous?

Noticed two grasshoppers jumping together on the porch, and started wondering if they are monogamous? I am aware they have males and females.
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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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Are we more attracted to people of the same ethnicity? [closed]

Are humans more attracted to people from their own ethnic groups? I ask this because most of the time people have relationships with people of their own ethnicity, and I wonder if it's purely social, ...
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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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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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Does level of bats activity differs from day to day?

Say we measure bats activity as number of passes through given area. Can it differ significantly depending from day to day or it stays on average roughly the same? I am wondering whether the following ...
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Why do pigeons kill their chicks when touched by a human?

I used to have many pigeons around the house. If by chance one of the chicks fell out of the nest, we used to put it back using gloves. Usually, if we would touch the chicks with our bare hands, ...
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Can dolphins actually communicate linguistically?

Humans use "language." By language, I mean the thing I am using right now to talk to you. I know dolphins and orcas have very complex communication systems and also seem to process linguistic and ...
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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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Is homosexuality an adaptation in humans?

Homo sapiens have menopause - as some other mammals (e.g. some Cetacea) - a phenomenon where older females live for decades after the end of their own reproduction. Perhaps homosexuality, that looks ...
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Why do these earthworms stay between the road lines?

This article shows pictures of earthworms during floods in Texas. The worms ball up, supposedly in order to survive the floods. Can anyone explain the phenomenon a little? I can't seem to find ...
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Do species other than humans have distinct daily feeding patterns?

I have a general interest in complex adaptive systems and I have found that nature and the organisms within it is a perfect natural case of a rich adaptive system with a lot of possibilities for ...
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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 ...
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Does any animal species have two sexes and more genders?

Does it exist any animal species that have two sexes and a kind of different internal diversification in two genders or more? I mean no something like different-task-based diversity but something ...