In this world, we live together with animals and plants. We humans cannot live on our own. It is important to learn things and know about our surroundings. Behavioral Ecology is the study of animal behavior due to environmental pressures. The research focuses on the evolutionary traits of animals, their behavioral patterns and their tendencies. Also, it also tackles types of animal behavior, whether wild or captive animals. Behavioral Ecology broadens our familiarity between animals.
Studying Animal Behavior
Humans have long adored and appreciated how the animals survived and adapted to their surroundings. The study of animal behavior started during the 17th to 19th century. By British Scientists Charles Darwin, John Ray, and French Scientist Charles LeRoy. These individuals studied the complexity of animal actions and behaviors. In addition, these researchers, research and understand animal behavior by observing animals in their natural setting. During 1859 Charles Darwin publication of his book “On the Origin of Species,” he implicated that adaptation and the survivability are evolutionary traits.
After these researchers, biologists and scientists have recognized that animal behavior stems from their evolutionary time, which is a result of a long history of natural selection
Types of Animal Behavior
Animal Behavior stems from their instincts, genes, and evolution. Saying this there are different types of animal behavior depending on their surroundings and their state.
Here are different types of animal behavior:
- Instinctual Behavior – as the name suggests, it is based on their instincts. Animals have fixed action patterns, imprinting, and sexual behavior. All these are from intuition and responses from environmental stimulants.
- Learned Behavior – Wild animals learn and adapt the ways to survive. They are figuring out a way to survive in the wild. Domestic animals also adapt to learning behaviors, such as training. Animals are effectively learning through trial and error.
- Abnormal Behavior – Behavioral patterns are simple and easy to understand. Animals have traits that they cannot just abandon. Diseases or trauma may cause unusual behavior of animals. Animals behaving abnormally have little to no chance of mating or surviving.
Just like people, animals live together in groups. Familiarity is a trait of all animals, especially the same species. But this is not the case for everyone. Studies show prolonged familiarity to some species may cause aggression. To illustrate, research was done by Carolina Doran and her colleagues using Amazon mollies. They used this species of fish to determine short term and long term familiarity. Based on the study, researchers were surprised that the higher the level of familiarity of the mollies, the higher their aggression as well. They established the conclusion that animals create a hierarchy, especially when familiar with each other.
Behavior in Different Aspects
Behavioral patterns are also divided into different aspects. These aspects depend on the situation and the environment the animal is. Behavior changes, especially when it comes to food, territory, mating and animal groups, this is true to every animal, including humans. Our behavior change depending on factors or stimulants. Different aspects of behavior stem when there are other factors involved.
Behavioral Ecology: Captive Animals
Different animals have different behaviors when captured or domesticated. Some animals are perfect for domestication while some are not compatible. There are individual animals that cannot be as pets. There are factors to be considered such as suitability, needs, and the species.
Behavioral ecology of captured animals is different from the wild. Captured animals depend on their captors for their food and water. Since captured animals are not accustomed to living in the wild. They are not capable of hunting or finding their own.
Animal behavior is a primal instinct. Animals have evolved and survived by adapting to the environment. Animal’s genetics dictate such behavior. Especially true for surviving species. Since every species that survived to this point is a product of evolution. Animals possess the skills to adapt to the environment to survive, to mate, and protect their territory. Animal behavior stems from stimulants and factors from the situation they are.