animal behavior notes

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Animal Behavioral Responses:

Animal Behavioral Responses Indicator 6-3.5


Overview A complex set of responses to stimuli is called behavior . Behavioral responses refer to how animals cope with changes in their environments. Animals may respond to environmental stimuli through behaviors that include hibernation, migration, defense, and courtship .


Hibernation As a result of cold, winter weather ( stimulus ) some animals will hibernate. Hibernation is a state of greatly reduced body activity, used to conserve food stored in the body. Some animals hibernate for part or all of the winter .


Hibernation The animal's body temperature drops, its heartbeat and breathing slow down, and it uses very little energy . Examples of hibernating animals may be ants , snakes , black bears , beavers, and ground squirrels.


Migration Migration is the movement of animals from one place to another in response to seasonal changes . They travel to other places where food is available . Migrating animals usually use the same routes year after year.


Migration The cycle is controlled by changes in the amount of daylight and the weather . Examples of animals that migrate are monarch butterflies, orcas , caribou, and ducks .

Defense - Camouflage:

Defense - Camouflage Some animals have protective coloration to survive changes in its environment. Some animals develop their camouflage in response to the weather ; for example the arctic fox and snowshoe hare. They develop a white coat for the winter to blend in with the snow and a gray coat in the summer to blend in with the forest. Chameleons and other lizards change colors to blend into the environment to avoid predators .

Defense - Camouflage:

Defense - Camouflage

Defense - Smells:

Defense - Smells Skunks use an offensive odor in response to fear . The skunk turns the predator's sense of smell against it by issuing a stream of oily, foul smelling musk .

Defense - Stingers:

Defense - Stingers Wasps and bees use a stinger for protection when frightened or threatened .

Defense - Ejection:

Defense - Ejection The black ink cloud of an octopus is a defense mechanism because it gives the animal a chance to escape from a predator. When the horned lizard gets really scared , it shoots blood out of its eyes allowing it time to escape .

Defense - Mimicry:

Defense - Mimicry When a weaker animal copies stronger animals' characteristics to warn off predators. Some animals may look like another more poisonous or dangerous animal that give it protection , such as a “false” coral snake or hawk moth caterpillar that looks like a snake . Certain moths have markings that look like eyes and some flower flies resemble black and yellow wasps that have a powerful sting and use this disguise to ward off predators.

Defense - Mimicry:

Defense - Mimicry DANGEROUS! HARMLESS! Looks like a snake Looks like a bee

Defense - Grouping:

Defense - Grouping This social behavior occurs when certain animals travel together in groups to protect individuals within the group or to fool a predator into thinking the group is one large organism. Examples may include herds (buffalo, zebra, cattle), packs (wolves), or schools of fish.


Courtship Courtship in animals is usually a behavioral process whereby adults of a species try to attract a potential mate . Courtship behaviors ensure that males and females of the same species recognize each other.


Courtship Environmental stimuli , such as seasonal changes, will stimulate courtship. Often sensory cues (for example, chemical odor cues, sounds, or color) will serve as courtship attractants in animals.

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