Ethology and Animal Behaviour


One of the basic aspects that separates living from non-living matter is the capacity of living organisms to respond to changes in the environment. The response of living organisms is adaptive, that is, it enhances the probability of the species to survive and reproduce. One of the most important ways of adapting to environmental change, at least for animal, is behaviour and its success depends to a great extent upon its degree of variability. Generally, the term behaviour is used to refer to all those responses to environmental changes that involve the integrated functioning of the entire organism. For instance, plants react to stimuli at the cell level, as do unicellular animals (i.e.. protozoans); in multicellular animals, genetically inherited sensory and nervous systems provide the framework for reaction, the way in which animal experiences its environment also influences its behaviour.

The study of animal behaviour from a biological point of view forms a new and young branch of biology called ethology. The term ethology is based upon two Greek words- ethos which means a characteristic disposition or habit or custom of an individual or group and logos which refers to St. Hilaire chose the term ethology eighteenth century the study of animals as living beings in their natural environment. Ethology is a biological discipline that involves the study of the total repertoire of the innate and learned behaviours that animals employ to resolve the problems of survival and reproduction.

Why do Animals have to Behave?
Animals are defined to a large extent by their behaviours. They are motile creatures that explore and manipulate their environments. Even the most sedentary animals are more active and manipulative than the most motile plants. For example, hydras search into the surrounding medium with tentacles; clams sweep food-laden currents of water into their mouths with rows of cilia and parasitic worms creep through the cavities and sway in the body fluid of their hosts. In fact, there is a sound ecological reason why animals must be active? Animals are the consumers of energy and not the primary producers, the role of which is filled by green plants and microorganisms (e.g., cyanobacteria). Even when animals search out or prey on other animals, they merely act as channels for energy captured and packaged by primary producers. One of the fundamental laws of ecology states that consumers can get only a small fraction (10 per cent) of the energy that passes through plants. Consequently animals literally collect a living from the environment, patrolling it or sucking part of it into their alimentary canal in order to secure a sufficient quantity of energy. Once such a option of was chosen evolution by the earliest animals years ago, the effect spilled into every other aspect of their life. The body was compacted into precise and powered by masses of muscles, alimentary tracts were assembled for the processing of food in packet all entire new organs organs) were invented to monitor light and sound Above there was the nervous system to coordinate behaviour.

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