Questions tagged [ethology]

The study of animal behaviour.

48 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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9
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1answer
918 views

Squirrel nest construction

I've often wondered how squirrels -- specifically, eastern grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) make their nests. Specifically, I've been curious about how they "weave" everything together to make ...
7
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1answer
768 views

Why do earthworms surface after a rain?

Googling, I find two different explanations for why earthworms tend to surface after a rain. This page from UCSB, for example, gives both answers, contradicting itself: The first explanation is ...
6
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0answers
308 views

Do animals get “unhealthily” fat in the wild?

Looking at a picture of a seriously fat cat, apparently directly nurtured by humans, popping up in a language learning app, I started wondering: do animals "in the wild" (this might be ambiguous, but ...
6
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1answer
208 views

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 ...
4
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0answers
42 views

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. ...
4
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0answers
56 views

Larynx descent in male and female deer

Male red deer (Cervus elaphus) and Male Fallow deer (Dama dama) have a descended larynx, presumably for size exaggeration - to attract mates and intimidate other animals. Does this descent occur ...
3
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0answers
57 views

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 ...
3
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0answers
51 views

Good resource for penguin behavior for non-specialists

I just returned from Antarctica where we made many shore excursions and spent a great deal of time among penguins - mainly Gentoo, and some Chinstrap species. They were fascinating and there were ...
3
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0answers
580 views

How do coyotes remove cactus needles from their paws?

Here, in Arizona, coyotes roam and hunt in the desert. While hiking with dogs, I often see spiny bits of Teddy bear cholla cactus on the ground. Dogs often step on these and get stung by the ...
3
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0answers
102 views

Why does pink colour reduce aggressiveness?

According to this Wikipedia page, a shade of pink colour known as "Baker-Miller_Pink" has been known to reduce aggressive behaviour. Is there any biochemical reaction responsible for this? ...
3
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0answers
83 views

To what extent is excretory control a learned vs. instinctive behavior?

Human babies are clearly not born knowing whether/how to hold in urine and feces, and teaching them to do so requires a nontrivial (really nontrivial...) amount of work on the parents' part. But once ...
3
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0answers
192 views

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. (...
2
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0answers
22 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
20 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
37 views

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 ...
2
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26 views

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' ...
2
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0answers
35 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
39 views

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?
2
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0answers
51 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
24 views

Population-biology, migration-patterns, & ethology of the Big Five (elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, & buffalo) in S. Africa's winter months?

I know that animals are unpredictable, but I also know that there are seasons in which the wildlife are more active. Now, August in South Africa is still their winter season, which is emerging into ...
2
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0answers
41 views

Play Mimicking Normal Behaviour In Cats

I tried to word my question so it will be given serious consideration. Rather than ask in Pets SE (which doesn't have the brightest questions or answers), I feel it's better suited for Biology SE - ...
2
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0answers
63 views

Basic behaviour patterns of animals for a modeling project?

I am working on a project (a tool) for my GIS class that models natural habitat of an animal based on landcovers, distance to the nearest watersource and distance from developed area in Kansas, USA. I ...
2
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0answers
41 views

Flight trajectory of domestic pigeons on sudden noise

In places where people feed pigeons, its a common sight to see them fly off suddenly when there is a sudden disturbance. When they do, there is an interesting pattern that these birds follow. Say ...
2
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0answers
135 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
14 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
275 views

Circadian rhythm in birds

Animals can use their circadian clocks to determine direction from the position of the sun. In a particular experiment conducted in Iceland, a bird, kept in a cage open to the sky, was trained to ...
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13 views

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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50 views

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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18 views

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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32 views

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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30 views

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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49 views

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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45 views

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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0answers
46 views

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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68 views

How ants handle the huge “data” from multiple pheromone trails?

We know that every single ant produces pheromones to communicate and inform others. When there are millions of ants, how do they handle that many signals without getting confused?
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108 views

Is it true that pigeons became less afraid of humans in recent years?

My grandfather had told me when I was a kid that at his time the pigeons would not approach humans closer than about 15 meters. At the time he said it the pigeons were approaching us not closer than ...
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0answers
179 views

The most reliable way of identifying deer antler measurements?

I am creating a (theoretical) study on how males use antlers to assess fellow males' abilities. I thus would need to have accurate measurements of antlers, including length, width, number of tines etc....
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39 views

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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0answers
93 views

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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0answers
55 views

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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0answers
31 views

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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16 views

Life cycle of Ascaris worms

Why do Ascaris larva move to the epiglottis from the lungs only to come down with food to the small intestine and become an adult?
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24 views

Do jackdaws help each other against enemies/predators?

Do jackdaws help each other out when one member of the flock is caught by a natural enemy? I'm asking this question, because I have seen other corvids do it.
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64 views

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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40 views

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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85 views

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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571 views

Is there any functional difference between Occipital lobe ( in mammals) and Optic lobe (vertebrates other than mammals)?

Visual processing centre in mammals and lower-vertebrates, are known to be different. In mammals, such as human, it is the Occipital Lobe of 2 hemispheres of cerebral cortex; which is a part of ...
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0answers
87 views

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, ...