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Questions tagged [ethology]

The study of animal behaviour.

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Why are bees attracted to Stag Hides in Lime bath

A friend has some stag hides in lime-water solution. He noticed the stag hides were covered in bees of several different species. He also noticed that the nearby sheep hides in a similar bath have no ...
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How do animals learns seductional behaviour?

I was curious how the gender behaviour, the male role or female role, is known in mammals. Do mammals instinctively know how to do seduce the opposed sex or do the animals learn it from their parents/...
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Term for animal behavior that will lead to their demise?

Moths and salmon. I recognize these are two entirely different impulses, but in both case the end result is the animal dies. Is there a term for such a behavior? If not one term for both, then is ...
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Why do spinner dolphins spin?

Spinner dolphins have a behavior where they jump out of the water and spin a bunch of times in the air. Wikipedia's article on this just states These spins may serve several functions and doesn't ...
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Is cannibalism part of mainstream food-chain?

There are some species who sometimes eat their own kinds. Is this cannibalism considered their regular food? Do the link in food-chain for those animals make a loop on themselves? Can this statement: ...
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Do non-human primates have mental disorders like humans?

I was at the zoo today and watched a gorilla pick at a scab on its finger, compulsively, until it started bleeding. Is this OCD or is it just a nervous thing that non-human primates do at the zoo? Do ...
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Do flies avoid infrared light?

If flies avoid IR light, many places can be kept free from flies using IR light. We see insect repellers in many restaurants, but they don't seem to work well. Can IR be a safe & effective ...
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What's the smallest flier that migrates?

Painted ladies and monarchs migrate hundreds of miles (~1.61 hundreds of kms). Are there long distance fliers that are significantly smaller? Dual question: Are fliers' migration distances strictly ...
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What exactly is this small puffer fish doing and how did it manage to accomplish such a feat?

I recently saw a video on youtube where it shows a puffer fish making intricate designs in the sand: OZZY MAN VIDEO The puffer fish made this design on the sand: What exactly is the puffer ...
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Is there animal other than human that can recognize distal causes?

We know animals can recognize proximate causes. For example, if animal A hits animal B and injures it then usually animal B is able to associate animal A with his injury. From our everyday experience ...
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E.O. Wilson on sociobiology and the origin of morality

Somewhere in E.O Wilson's writing, he discusses how human values are rooted in our nature as a specific kind of animal. He argues that we have an identifiable optimal living place -- a grove at the ...
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Do vultures ever carry food away?

I was wondering if the feet of Vultures enable them to carry food found in one location to another location, or whether they always just eat what's on site, on site? In other words, can Vultures do ...
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What's the relationship between oxygen consumption and ambient oxygen concentration for a lobster?

I was looking at a research paper by Thomas (1954) and came across a graph with ambient oxygen concentration plotted against oxygen consumption rate of a European lobster kept in water. As we can see,...
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Can multiple cetacean species communicate?

It seems that individuals within the same species have their own communication, but is there evidence to suggest that individuals from different species are able to communicate?
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What's the relationship between snail movement and rain?

I have a question about the relationship between snail and rain. A few days ago I found snail shells in a moist area and I brought them in for crafts work (I thought they were empty because snail ...
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The Tun state of a tardigrade

I was wondering How long does it take for a tardigrade to enter and exit the Tun state? I'm doing a thesis on tardigrades for my B.S in biology and I haven't come along any information in the primary ...
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Who cleans the cleaner fish?

Cleaner fish are those fish that eat the dead skin cells and parasites off from other usually larger fish. ( such cleaners include wrasse, cichlids, catfish, shrimp etc ) I wondered if the cleaner ...
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Why is wombat excreta shaped like cubes?

I've heard that wombat excreta is cube shaped, but I don't understand how that can happen. Has anyone studied the phenomenon? What would the evolutionary pressure have been to cause this?
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Will a dog develop similar feelings with a robot as like human?

I think we are connected to the world by Biochemistry first and then physical and verbal interactions. If a robot feeds a dog regularly, pampers it and cuddles it regularly, would it develop the same ...
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Why so fewer birds in the yard come late summer and early autumn?

We've enjoyed watching birds in our yard this past summer. We're in a suburb, fairly forested, inland northeastern USA hardiness zone 5. As we scaled up the amount of diversity and net primary ...
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Efficacy of sonic kangaroo deterrents

Bender (2003) tested the efficacy of sonic kangaroo deterrents. Their device is static (and apparently ineffective). Has there been any rigorous testing of the whistle-like 'kangaroo deterrent' ...
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Is there mismatch in injures or death numbers for carnivores that hunt during day time and night time?

Is there significant mismatch in injures or death numbers for hunters (when hunter was killed or injured by its prey), between day time and night time hunts (carnivores that hunt during the day time ...
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Hamilton's rule: When to change the equation?

So, in class, my teacher gave two examples of using hamilton's rule. Let b= 4 and c=2.5. The first was whether altruism would evolve between two diploid full siblings given these values. Since r=1/2, ...
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Why would a horse-fly quickly dip into water?

For several years I have noticed a large horse-fly, flying very quickly down to the surface of my pond (in Sweden), touch the surface, and fly off. Sometimes it dips down a few times, taking some ...
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How to quantify the strength of social bonding between the individuals of a colony? How to compare the strength of social bonding across the species?

Consider two different species of honey bees. If I have to compare the strength of social bonding between the two species i.e. in which species, social bonding between the individuals is stronger than ...
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Territorial behavior in humans?

Do humans exhibit territorial behavior like other primates? I have seen people sometimes stare at others -- notably males -- and then physical fights spontaneously turn up. Is this territorial? It ...
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What do bats do if played ultra sound?

If there are bats flying in the cave, and I play the same pitch they use to echolocate from a speaker, what would the bats do?
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Are there any pairs of animal species that regularly prey on other?

I don't mean cannibalism within a single species - I mean, are they are any pairs of species A and B such that members of species A regularly prey on members of species B, and also members of species ...
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398 views

Why do snails come out of the grass when it rains?

I would like to know why snails come out of the grass when it rains. As a child my paternal grandmother always told me that they come out onto the sidewalk because they need to avoid drowning into the ...
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Why do snails hang out alone?

I would like to know, if snails have families, then why do snails hang out by themselves? What kind of animals are they, rectiles, insects, where are they categorized in the kingdom, phylum, ..., ...
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57 views

Species that murder their own counterparts when put in captivity

Mary Midgley writes in her book, Beast and Man (p. 54 in this eBook: https://goo.gl/3NnhtP): Lorenz gives chilling examples from roe deer and doves, in both of which species stronger members will ...
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340 views

Is there a distinction between the fisherian runaway theory and Fisher's sexy son theory?

In many websites/books they are referred to as part of the same process whereby: "runaway" describing that the process continues even after traits become maladaptive the "sexy son theory" explains ...
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Does human behaviour that is caused by inheritance depend on the environment and lifestyle in general?

Different breeds of common domesticated animals such as horses and dogs clearly show different behaviour, instincts, social relationships and similar, due to their biological inheritance. Still they ...
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Why do lions keep young preys and don't kill them right away?

I saw some (actually several) videos on Youtube of young lions and lionesses that after hunting baby preys keep them and even seem to play with them. The lions don't seem to want to hurt them but they ...
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339 views

What do you call clearly different sub-groups within a species?

If you look at species of bees and ants, you can clearly see there are drastically different specialized ants, like queen ants and workers. They're both part of the same species, yet are still ...
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Are there any parasites that alter human behavior in a self destructive way?

There seems to be quite a few examples of parasites taking over the behavior of insects in a way that leads to the death of the host. A couple of examples include: Spinochordodes tellinii: A ...
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Is it fine to state every learned behavior has an innate component ? ie. Behavior X is largely/ mostly laerned with an innate component

For example human acquisition of language, can we say it is learned, but has an innate component -- because there is a particular structure of the tongue, and perhaps also a specific cognitive ability ...
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What are the chances that Tyrannosaurus Rex could roar? [closed]

Tyrannosaurus Rex is now thought to have possibly had lips. Less of chance of it roar though I was told by a friend just because there are birds doesn’t mean they can’t. Evolution isn't linear, just ...
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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 ...
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191 views

Why does the olive tree produce a bitter tasting fruit?

What is the survival value for the olive tree to produce a bitter tasting fruit, even when it is ripened? I realize some fruits and berries are species specific, i.e., meant for specific animals to ...
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467 views

Water-bird that can take off vertically from the water?

If you look at ducks taking off, they take off at a pretty flat angle, building up speed before they finally get some altitude. This takes a lot of distance, it seems, for them to get high in the air. ...
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264 views

Why don't electric eels shock themselves?

Why do electric eels not stun or pain themselves when they discharge their high voltage shocks? While it is known that they use those high voltage shocks to track their prey (as discovered by my ...
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Can crocodilians differentiate their offsprings from other young crocodiles?

I read that some species of crocodilians can take care of their young for as long as a year. How do parents differentiate their offsprings from other young crocodiles? Smell, appearance, sound?
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Why are dogs so selective about choosing a spot to defecate?

Anybody who walks a dog knows that dogs are normally selective about choosing a spot to defecate. They sniff around for a long time, while I just want to be on my way. I understand about marking ...
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134 views

Can platypuses communicate via electroreception?

I know at least some electroreceptive fish are capable of basic communication with other members of their species via varying their own bioelectric signals. However, I can't find any information as ...
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Do prey animals fail to see incoming pythons/snakes?

I understand that pythons are considered ambush predators, and I was under the impression that they tend to employ the sit-and-wait strategy: quietly staying in a coiled position near a trail ...
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87 views

At what point do scientists consider something sentient vs random and/or genetic? [closed]

When I was thinking about sentience from a scientific point of view, I was confused about the bio-electric mental difference between a paramecium, dog, human, and supercomputer. At what point does ...
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What does a wing shake in crickets indicate?

What does it mean when a male cricket (Acheta domesticus) shakes its wings towards another male cricket? Is this an act of aggressiveness?
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Is there a biological term for an activity period that is determined by temparature

In general we refer to the activity period of organisms in terms of the period of the day that they are active. Diurnal, crepuscular, nocturnal, matutinal, and vespertine, for example. There are ...
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Which predator raises its tail to signal no threat? [closed]

A guy in a bar once told me that there is some animal which raises its tail when at a watering area in order to signal to the other animals that it's not going to attack. He told me this as an ...