Questions tagged [ethology]

The study of animal behaviour.

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191 views

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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246 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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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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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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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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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 ...
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Why don't Australian magpies in Tasmania swoop at people?

I'm currently living in Tasmania (Australia) and I have noticed that Magpies don't swoop at you here, yet they do in other parts of the country. Just wondering: does anyone know why?
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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 ...
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1answer
805 views

Why are spiders afraid of flies caught in their web?

I recently noticed a fly got caught in a spider web in my house. The fly was very energetic and, even though caught, continued to flap it's one wing (which I think might have been partially free) with ...
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Where do birds and squirrels go to die?

This may sound like a silly question, but I have been wondering about this for a while. I live in a suburban neighborhood with a lot of trees. A lot of trees means birds and squirrels. You can hear ...
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1answer
544 views

Are we capable to generate sounds of animals to the point that they mistakenly recognize it as members of their species?

From Animal language (Wikipedia), there are many evidences that we can communicate with animals, at least to baboons and dolphins. There is a case that fish moving away when hearing a record of whale ...
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If an insect becomes upside down, do they have mechanisms to turn themselves right side up?

This question is mainly applicable to beetle's and cockroaches. If I flip them so their legs point upward, they usually squirm around and wiggle trying to come back upright. Sometimes they succeed, ...
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Can solitary animals show extroverts traits?

So far as it is known there are solitary animals and social animals. Does introversion exist among nonhuman primates? says that there are introverts among social animals: Recent studies have ...
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2answers
170 views

Are there animals who do things just for pleasure like humans?

In a debate my father said that only humans do things that are not directly linked to survival(painting, playing musical instruments, singing etc). He said that this is because we are "special" and ...
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51 views

Light signals in the courtship and mating

I am investigating on the emission of signals in the courtship and mating in the animals. I know that the fireflies emit light signals as a courtship ritual. Are there other animals that use this ...
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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 ...
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1answer
86 views

Reason for specific location of a gnat swarm?

While checking on my yard trees, I noticed a tiny swarm of gnats above one small maple that has a metal cup holder stake used to help train the trunk straighter. Approximate swarm size of 20 - 30 ...
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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 - ...
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957 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?
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Why do bumble bees run repeatedly into walls?

I have noticed on dozens of occasions that bumble bees will run repeatedly into a wall. Usually between 1 - 5 times before clearing the obstacle or flying away. Credit: Spine Films This source ...
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556 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 ...
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Why do turtles ride on alligators?

I often see pictures of turtles riding alligators, I even saw that in a zoo once, but why do they do that? Is it some sort of camouflage technique for the turtles? And why doesn't the alligator get ...
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Do cuttlefish know how to mimic animals since the moment they are born or do they learn by observing?

I can't seem to find information anywhere else so I hope somebody can help me out. So, as the question states, I saw a cuttlefish mimicking a hermit crab the other day and I was wondering if ...
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1answer
166 views

Can birds raise younglings that are not their own?

For example, if a scientist were to move a chickadee or pigeon egg from one nest to another, would the new bird (second mother) in the new nest incubate or raise the youngling? Or would the new mother ...
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What is the most basic organism to respond to Classical conditioning (capable of learning)? [duplicate]

I have been doing some reading of Classical conditioning which is considered to be an indication of animal's ability to learn... Before this I considered insects to be machine like - devoid of any ...
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Do birds ever fly in clouds?

Do (some) birds ever fly in fog or clouds so that they would not be able to see either the ground or the sun? Assuming the visibility is good enough so they can see obstacles in time to avoid them. ...
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1answer
371 views

Name and Behaviour of Arthropods near a Cactus

Background Story I have a small, old cactus on my sunny, south-facing window sill in southern Germany. Since a few years, small black dots gathered around its pot. At first, I thought the dots were ...
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2answers
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Why do sparrows jump instead of walk when they are not flying?

I want to talk about sparrows, one of the most common birds around the world. I noticed that when one slowly walks into them (so that they are not frightened enough to fly away), these tiny birds ...
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1answer
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How long before robin no longer needs the nest on my porch?

A robin has made a nest on my porch. Unfortunately, the nest is on my weed wacker which I might want to use at some point this summer. Currently, there are two eggs in the nest. How long will it be ...
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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 ...
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Are there any animals that celebrate communally?

Are there any animals that are known to celebrate events? For example, we humans might celebrate a birthday or passing an important test. An event causes us to perform some sort of celebration that is ...
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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 ...
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Why social animals attack odd members of their own group?

Some social animals are known for attacking odd members of their own group, for example, chicken: If you have a large group of one type of chicken, they will usually gang up on the one or two ...
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2answers
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What do butterflies eat?

I found a beautiful scarce-swallowtail butterfly in my storeroom, but it was kind of frozen and couldn't fly away. So, I put it on my terrace in the sun. After a little bit, it flew a few meters away ...
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Are there examples of animals that live in groups, where all have the same role?

For animals that live in groups, are there examples where all of them have the same role? For example, in animals we know there are bee queens or alpha, beta and omega mammals. But are there groups of ...
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Why do birds sing? [closed]

Some birds sing. But why do they do it? Does singing gives them any biological advancement? Like in mating, communication etc. Or they do it for enjoyment like humans? ( Might be possible!) Edit: I ...
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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 ...
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Do Asian koel males communicate through calls?

Male Asian koels are heard making long koo-Ooo s which are returned by similar koo-Ooo s1 from some far away place. While the female makes short shrills. I never had the opportunity to see the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...