The Aspects of Animal Behavior

             Before doing this lab you should understand:.

             · The concept of distribution of organisms in a resource gradient, and.

             · The difference between kinesis and taxis.

             After doing this lab you should be able to:.

             · Describe some aspects of animal behavior, such as orientation behavior, agonistic behavior, dominance display, or mating behavior, and.

             · Understand the adaptiveness of the behaviors you studied.


             1. Place ten pill bugs and a small amount of bedding material in a petri dish. Pillbugs generally do not climb, but if they do, you may cover the dish with plastic wrap or the petri dish cover.

             2. Observe the pillbugs for 10 minutes. Make notes on their general appearance, movements about the dish, and interactions with each other. Notice if they seem to prefer one area over another, if they keep moving, settle down, or move sporadically. Note any behaviors that involve 2 or more pillbugs. Try to make your observations without disturbing the animals in any way. Do not prod or poke or shake the dish, make loud sounds, or subject them to bright lights. You want to observe their behavior, not influence it or interfere with it.

             3. Prepare a choice chamber as illustrated in the Figure. The choice chamber consists of two large, plastic petri dishes taped together with an opening cut between them. Cut the opening with scissors and use tape to hold the dishes together. Line one chamber with a moist piece of filter paper and the other with a dry piece of filter paper.

             4. Use a soft brush to transfer 10 pillbugs from the stock culture into the choice chamber. Place 5 pillbugs in each side of the choice chamber. Cover the chambers.

             5. Count how many pillbugs are on each side of the chamber every 30 seconds for 10 minutes and then record your data. Continue to record even if they all move to one side or stop moving.

             6. Return your pillbugs to the stock culture.

             7. Graph both the number of pillbugs in the wet chamber and the number in the dry chamber using the Graph.

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