Questions tagged [behaviour]

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

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72
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2answers
6k views

Do animals exhibit handedness (paw-ness?) preference?

I have been observing my cat and found that when confronted with an unknown item, she will always use her front left paw to touch it. This has me wondering if animals exhibit handedness like humans ...
64
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2answers
9k 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? ...
30
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1answer
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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 ...
25
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1answer
4k views

Do ants really find the shortest path to a food source?

There exist many computational intelligence algorithms based on the observation that ants deposit pheromones in such a way that they find the shortest path to food sources. This logic is used to ...
24
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3answers
1k views

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
23
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3answers
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Why do humans suffer anxiety when they view “Trypophobia trigger images”?

When you type Trypophobia Trigger Images in google, you see a variety of images with irregular lumps and bumps among some more gory images. Many people report that these images induce phobia like ...
23
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2answers
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How do burrowing animals get enough oxygen?

Tree borers make a small hole in a tree. At the end of it, they chew on wood to elongate the tunnel. They digest food and grow. All this takes oxygen. The entrance to the tunnel is generally small. ...
21
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1answer
30k views

Why do dogs try to cover their poop?

It may seem obvious to us humans to hide our excreta, but this is not quite normal behavior for animals. Interestingly, dogs have the habit to pee all over the place. It's know that they do so to ...
19
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1answer
1k views

Why is yawning contagious?

Why does yawning seems to be contagious? Is this similar to laughter being contagious or does it has a different reason?
16
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1answer
3k views

What is this grasshopper doing?

I spotted a grasshopper standing on a pavement with a long sting placed in asphalt. I also recorded a video of it moving: https://youtu.be/JoDdg2yUuYo What is it doing?
16
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1answer
2k views

Identify this giant green moth(?) with great taste?

One evening in late February I sat down to eat dinner after a day of hiking in hills around New Taipei City and discovered that someone else shared my taste in clothes. A very large green moth-like ...
15
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1answer
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Why do flies “rub” their front legs when resting?

I've noted that every time a house fly is resting on a surface, it appears to "rub" or "scrub" its front legs in a repetitive movement. And they do it continuously. Why?
15
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1answer
4k 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 ...
15
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2answers
27k 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: http://...
14
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3answers
984 views

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 ...
12
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1answer
52k views

Why can cats interpret things on a monitor/tv, but dogs cannot?

E.g. you can see a lot of videos where cats are smashing some mouse or spider on an ipad, but I have never seen it with a dog. I have a dog myself and I know that he sometimes responds to the sounds ...
12
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2answers
4k views

Do ants really dispose of their own dead, and how/why?

I just read this from Wikipedia's Swarm Behavior article: Despite the lack of centralized decision making, ant colonies exhibit complex behaviour and have even been able to demonstrate the ability ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What biological functions does crying serve?

Tears suddenly start flowing out of our eyes when we find our long lost friend or when someone unexpectedly decides to break up with us. Do tears really save us from harm? Or are they just the reflex ...
12
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1answer
394 views

Does the genetic expression of specific physical traits ever correlate to behaviour?

Over at skeptics, there were a couple questions asked as to the correlation of specific physical traits in relation to personality/behaviour. For instance, the simian line as well as red hair. Now, ...
11
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3answers
324 views

Is it possible for a parasitic wasp to alter the behaviour of its host after emerging from it?

I know that parasitic wasp larvae can live for a long time inside their live host (eg. caterpillar), but I always thought that they kill the host when they eventually get out of it. But I've seen a ...
11
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2answers
682 views

Can canines communicate with each other using gaze direction?

After researching why humans have white scleras when most primates have dark scleras, I stumbled upon the cooperative eye hypothesis. It proposed that white scleras may have evolved on behalf that it ...
10
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3answers
4k views

Do adult mosquitoes have color preferences?

Do adult mosquitoes get particularly attracted or repelled by any colour, or darkness or light? If so, what are they?
10
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2answers
2k views

Why do some people become more aggressive when tired?

Why do some people become more aggressive when they are tired? I've been thinking about this question for a few days and my 'hypothesis' is that the neural activity in the prefrontal cortex lessens as ...
10
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1answer
348 views

Why would deer continue to cross a river full of crocodiles even though some of them have been killed?

I recently watched a clip on Discovery Channel, where I saw deer crossing a river full of crocodiles, ignoring the fact that some of them would have been killed doing so. Is there a possible ...
10
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1answer
559 views

Cat's tail movement as an indicative of tension

It appears to me that tail's twitching in the cats indicates how much tension the individual is under. During a hunt, when a cat tries to stay invisible, while approaching a target it is almost ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Why does walking mitigate the urge to urinate?

When feeling a strong urge to urinate humans tend to walk around when e.g. waiting for the current bathroom occupant to get out. Why is that?
10
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1answer
442 views

Do mosquitos excrete blood?

Since insects like mosquitos ingest only blood, and insects generally excrete their solid and liquid waste at the same time as frass, I was wondering: is mosquito defecation more like iron pellets or ...
9
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2answers
841 views

Goats are so fearless but sheep are not. Is there any genetic difference responsible?

As you see in the picture goats (not only wild goats) are so fearless, but I never saw any sheep do this. What is the source of this difference in behavior?
9
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1answer
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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 ...
9
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1answer
1k views

What is this crow eating, and is it a common part of the corvid diet?

Here's a picture (by Rob Curtis) of a crow carrying and eating the corpse of what looks a bit like a small hawk or falcon: Other pictures clearly show the crow is eating the dead bird. This image ...
9
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3answers
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Why do chameleons move back and forth?

I was always curious, why do chameleons have this strange gait?
8
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1answer
189 views

Could murder be modeled as an infectious disease?

Background "When swine flu hit the population it spiked in certain areas and tapered off in neighboring regions, it hits hardest where people have least protection and this pattern is more ...
8
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2answers
4k 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 ...
8
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4answers
2k views

Why people like to see pornographic scenes, but do not feel the same about eating scenes? [closed]

This question may seem funny, but I think biology must have good answers. I think no more explanation is needed. I really thought about this and searched for an answer, but there is nothing yet. If ...
8
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1answer
244 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 ...
8
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2answers
237 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: ...
8
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2answers
294 views

What are these four large snails doing?

Hiking in some hills near Taipei after a rain, I saw lots of large snails out and about. Here "large" means the shells are say 8 cm long, and the snail itself fully stretched out 10 to 15 cm perhaps. ...
8
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1answer
400 views

What is the reason for fear induced defecation?

I started to handle mice for my job and noticed that they tend to defecate and/or urinate when they are scared. The fear is induced by me, because I need a long time (due to inexperience) to grab the ...
8
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2answers
189 views

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,...
8
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1answer
230 views

How well does it actually work to surgically reroute the optical nerve?

Two publications, Roe et al, 1992[1] and Metin & Frost, 1989[2], describe results pertaining to the ability of a region of cortex to process information from a different sensory mode than the one ...
8
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1answer
118 views

Predators faking to be not hungry?

I believe that there are predator/prey combinations where the prey can easily spot that the predator is not hungry and will not try to flee from it. I’m thinking, for example, of gazelles who will ...
7
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5answers
751 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. ...
7
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1answer
105 views

Why do birds legs' not get frostbite?

In a nature documentary I watched a while ago, there was a scene where a flock of flamingos slept in a lake that froze overnight. Each morning they just had to wait until the lake defrosted ...
7
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1answer
199 views

What is the mechanism behind cats' geolocating homing behavior?

Some cats, which are separated from their home, have the ability to travel back to their original home - even over long distances and land that they haven't encountered before. E.g., see the Time ...
7
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1answer
366 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 ...
6
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5answers
5k views

Why do 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: From changing environments. Mutations. Possibly even genetic ...
6
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1answer
193 views

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 ...
6
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2answers
181 views

Why do fruit flies go so close to large reservoirs of liquid when they are likely to fall in due to surface tension?

I had accidentally left out half a glass of red wine by the windowsill when I went to sleep. As anyone knows, if you do this with a window cracked you will get quite a few fruit flies near it in that ...
6
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2answers
756 views

Do lower animals have instinctive behaviors?

Can an organism such as C. elegans, with only 302 neurons, exhibit "instinctive or innate behavior"? If not, then at what basic minimal structure is instinct manifest?
6
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1answer
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Why do people sing?

I was wondering the why people sing, but from a biological point of view. Is it necessary for our body? If it is so, then why can't everyone sing well? Is it in direct relation with neurotransmitter ...

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