Animal behaviorism--or ethology--is a branch of zoology. The word ethology derives from the Greek words ethos ("character"), and logia ("the study of").
While the behavior of animals has been studied throughout the history of science, modern ethology saw its structured and documented beginnings with the work of such naturalists as Nikolaas Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch.
Ethological investigation melds field and laboratory research; and benefits from contributions from such other biological disciplines as ecology, anatomy, neurology and evolution.
What do these words mean? Biophony is the melodic sound created by such organisms as frogs and birds; geophony, the composition of non-biological sounds like wind, rain and...
Desert birdsLast Updated on 2013-10-29 21:52:31Deserts are challenging environments. Any organism that makes the desert its home must be able to cope with extreme temperatures and a scarce supply of water. Birds have the obvious advantage of flight which allows many of them to be only temporary visitors stopping off along their migrations, or seasonal inhabitants sticking around to breed during the more favorable seasons and leaving when things get too rough. There are a limited number of bird species that can truly call themselves desert dwellers, living primarily or only in such arid environments and not migrating. These birds possess some fascinating adaptations for dealing with life in the desert. (see: Adaptations of desert birds and mammals)
Organisms living in desert environments face several challenges including (1) obtaining and retaining water, (2) regulating their body temperature, and (3) obtaining and conserving... More »
HerbivoreLast Updated on 2013-10-24 16:24:24A herbivore is an animal that obtains its energy and nutrients by feeding on plants. Different types of herbivores eat different plant parts. For example, folivores feed on leaves, frugivores feed on fruits, granivores feed on seeds, pollinivores feed on pollen, and nectarivores feed on nectar. Herbivores can vary greatly in size, ranging from the largest terrestrial animals (elephants) and large marine mammals such as manatees and dugongs to small insects, nematodes and thrips. Herbivores are primary consumers (they receive their energy by consuming primary producers), so they play an important trophic role in ecological communities and food webs.
Because mature leaves are low in nutrients, and difficult to digest because of their high cellulose content, animals use many different strategies to eat leaves. Animals that feed on grass leaves are generally... More »
Bornean Clouded LeopardLast Updated on 2013-09-30 23:00:04The Bornean clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi), or Sundaland clouded leopard, is a medium-sized wildcat found on Borneo, Sumatra and the Batu Islands in the Malay Archipelago Its coat is marked with irregularly-shaped, dark-edged ovals which are said to be shaped like clouds, hence its common name. Though scientists have known of its existence since the early 19th century, it was positively identified as being a distinct species in its own right in 2006, having long been believed to be a subspecies of the mainland Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa). WWF quoted Dr. Stephen O'Brien of the U.S. National Cancer Institute as saying, "Genetic research results clearly indicate that the clouded leopard of Borneo should be considered a separate species".
Conservation... More »
ParrotfishesLast Updated on 2013-07-25 15:58:05
Parrotfishes (Family Scaridae), which derive their name from their beak-like jaws, include approximately nine genera and 83 species. They are abundant in tropical reefs around the world, and often form one of the most dominant species biomass on such coral reefs; moreover, they are well known to divers for their striking coloration and noisy feeding as they scrape epiphytic algae from dead coral. Parrotfishes exhibit several types of complex mating systems that vary by geographic location, even within a single species. They also have considerable ecological impacts on coral reefs through herbivory and bioerosion.
Parrotfishes are characterized by their distinctive beak-like jaws, in which the teeth are fused together in most species, and a pharyngeal apparatus, which acts as a second set of jaws in the throat. In the pharyngeal apparatus, the teeth are... More »
Eastern gorillaLast Updated on 2013-07-18 17:44:52The Eastern Gorilla (scientific name: Gorilla beringei) is one of two species of gorilla in the family of species known as Hominidae or "Great Apes." Hominidae include humans, chimpanzees, orangutans as well as gorillas. After chimpanzees, gorillas are the closest relatives of humans.
Eastern gorillas are found in central Africa in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in the western parts of Uganda and Rwanda near the DRC border.
The largest of the living apes, the gorilla has a characteristically heavy body shape, with broad chests and long arms, and a shaggy dark coat. Gorillas are quadrupedal, walking on the knuckles of their forelimbs and the soles of their feet. Until recently all gorillas were considered to belong to single species, but there is now wide aceptance that the populations in western and central Africa are distinct species,... More »
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