Questions tagged [ethology]

The study of animal behaviour.

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Where in relation to their body do scorpions defecate?

When a scorpion expels feces, how do they reposistion their tail to avoid defecating on themselves?
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Why do bees fly inside the gaps between the decoration on the exterior wall of a building and the wall?

My house has decorations around the windows on the exterior wall: There are gaps between those decorations and the bricks of the building: During the summer, there are always bees looking for those ...
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How different is the jaw movement of a dog from that of a human?

If you watch a dog eating, it looks like it has a very different mastication pattern than that of a human. If they are eating something big, it seems like thy only chew vertically and sometimes they ...
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Should the fly rules of starlings flock belong to proximate reason or Ultimate reason?

Since for Proximate (or mechanistic), causation it should explain how actions occur in terms of the genetic, neurological, hormonal, and skeletal–muscular mechanisms involved. But fly rules does not ...
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How do beavers learn how to build dams?

I was wondering whether all beavers, from all around the world, know how to build dams and lodges? Do they need to learn it from their parents? If you release a group of beavers in the wild that haven'...
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Frogs stop croaking at same time

I know frogs start croaking at the same time to attract a female. Why do they all stop at the same time?
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Do some birds really clean themselves using wet leaves?

While researching native shrubs to put in my garden for bird habitat, I read that some birds will take advantage of bushes to clean themselves by rubbing themselves against a wet leaf after rainfall (...
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Why are these nesting magpies building another nest

Pair if eurasian magpies occupy a nest visible from my balcony. It's the nesting season for them here, and I assumed they have laid eggs. I can't see the eggs directly, but one of the magpies has been ...
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Why are Aardvarks capable of burrowing given their size?

I was wondering if large animals could possibly dig extensive burrows for themselves to live in. The polar bear burrows, but snow is not dirt. The aardvark goes about 4' long, ~150 lbs: similar to a ...
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Can you explain the behavior of this snake?

I just saw this video in which a snake is swallowing grapes. ("Whip snake eating grapes"). In the video, the snake just doesn't eat but goes on to swallow 2-3 grapes. I did some research on the ...
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The “truce of the watering hole” — is it completely discredited?

In short, the idea comes from Kipling that animals observe a sort of truce around watering holes and prey animals do not have to be on guard (as much?) from predators in the vicinity. I have read ...
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Do any non-human species have juveniles that cannot communicate with adults?

Human babies take 1+ years to begin learning how to speak (though sign language can be learned a bit earlier1). I know that cries, yells, and other non-linguistic sound are a simple form of ...
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The primary source for Erich von Holst research for minnow forebrain and shoaling

I am trying to find the primary source of information about the experiments of Eric von Holst, mentioned by Konrad Lorenz in the book “Das sogenannte Böse: Zur Naturgeschichte der Aggression”/“On ...
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The emergence of Phengaris butterflies from ant nests

The butterflies of the Phengaris genus (also known as Maculinea) are known to be brood parasitic. During the fourth instar, the caterpillars leave their food plant and mimic ant larvae, causing the ...
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What's the technical terminology for call-and-respond type behaviour?

The groups of some species such as water birds display a behavior that once out of line-of-sight a member will periodically initiate an interaction by make some type of sound, which will be followed ...
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Predatory animal tracking methods

As far as I know, humans are the only animals that use visual references to track prey that is not immediately visible to them. Do any other animals do this? I'm not referring to stalking prey ...
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Do animals exist (for example ostriches, chimps, etc.) that develop the need to mate with humans if they are soley raised and socialized by humans?

I just watched a German talk show "Nachtstudio" with the title "Die Graugans und der Mensch" (Gosling and People) about the legacy of the famous ethologist and Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz (https:/...
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Why are children so violent, compared to other adolescent animals, when they play?

When children play it is frequent that someone starts crying, suffers minor injuries and that they are intentionally mean towards each other (e.g., bite, pull hair, throws sand, pushes someone so they ...
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Can Chilopoda “vocalize” or produce sound for the express purpose of communication, as opposed to sound as a byproduct of other movements?

Is there any species of Chilopoda that can "vocalize" or or otherwise produce sound for the express purpose of communication, as opposed to sounds it might create as a byproduct of other movements ...
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Lions protecting girl in Ethopia — how plausible is it that they understood situation?

Several years ago we read of a girl who was apparently threatened by humans being protected by lions who chases off the males and stayed with the girl. Explanations like, "her crying resembled that of ...
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Why do some ant workers still wander at night?

As far as I have seen, the vast majority of workers in colonies of diurnal, non-nomadic species return to their nests and remain there at night. The colonies seem to forage largely during the day. ...
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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?
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Why squirrel behaviour varies greatly throughout India?

Common squirrels seen in India, probably Indian palm squirrels; seem to have drastic different behaviour. And all squirrels of a definite locality, behave in a very consistently same whay. That seems ...
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Is 'disorientation event' a common term among biologists?

On the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources web page about the marine turtle conservation program it says, "When a hatchling sea turtle is attracted away from the ocean towards a direct or ...
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Do birds grieve and feel emotion?

Crows are surprisingly clever with tool making/use and even understanding displacement water over sand! Clearly there's some relatively high level cognitive processes going on up in those avian brains....
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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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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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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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