Animal Behaviour

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Advantages of innate behaviour:

  • It does not need to be learned
  • It has immediate survival value for a young, inexperienced animal in a dangerous situation
  • It is appropriate for invertebrates with a short life span that do not have time to learn
  • It requires few neurones
  • It is likely to be appropriate for the animal's habitat, as the alleles controlling it will have been subject to natural selection

Innate behaviour is intinctive and inherited. It follows a rigid, fixed pattern and is so inflexible and sterotypes (the same in all members of a species). It is automatic and does not require thought or learning.
Escape reflexes - A particular stimulus brings about an automatic response, the function of which is to avoid predators. Earthworms withdraw undergroup in response to vibrations in the ground.
Taxes - A directional movement in response to an external stimulus. Woodlice move away from light to be less visible to predators and less liable to dessication.
Kinesis - A movement in response to an external stimulus. The rate of movement is related to the intensity, but not the direction, of a stimulus. When woodlive are placed in dry or bright conditions, they will move around rapidly and randomly until they are in more suitable conditions.

Learned behaviour: Behaviour that is changed, altered and learnt by experience. It requires, memory, reinforcement and practice. The behaviour is variable in members of the same species.

Habituation: Animals response to certain stimuli lessens over time because repeated exposure to the stimulus results in neither reward nor punishment. It avoids wasting energy in making escape responses to non-harmful stimuli, e.g. sea anemones respond to touch by withdrawing their tentacles. On repeated stimulation the response is less and the anemone does not withdraw its tentacles.

Imprinting: Young animals being associated with…


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