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93 Cards in this Set

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A characteristic that confers higher inclusive fitness to individuals than any other existing alternative exhibited by any other individuals within the population; a trait that has spread or will spread through the population as a result of natural selection or indirect selection
Helpful behalviour that raises the recipient's direct fitness while lowering the donor's direct fitness
The study of the adaptive value of behavioural attributes of individuals in solving environmental obsticals to reproduction.
Behavioural Ecology
A form of learningin which an automatic, or unconditioned, responce (such as salivation upon detection of food stimuli) comes to be performed in reaction to a stimulus other that the one that normally elicits the behaviour (such as the sound of a bell or the shining of a light).
Classical Conditioning
The way a group of people or animals within a society or culture tend to learn and pass on new information
Cultural transmission
Predictable and complete behaviour; Instinctive
Stereotypical behaviour
The theory that an individual is developed by successive differentiation of an unstructured egg rather than by a simple enlarging of a preformed entity
The fitness of an individual organism as measured in terms of the survival and reproductive success of its kin, each relative being valued according to the probability of shared genetic information, an offspring or sibling having a value of 50 percent and a cousin 25 percent.
Inclusive Fitness
Imprinting in which a young animal learns the characteristics of its parent.

e.g. Lorenz' greylag geese
Filial imprinting
an early learning process by which a young animal acquires information which will help in choosing a sexual partner
Sexual imprinting
The genetic contribution of an individual to the next generation's gene pool relative to the average for the population, usually measured by the number of offspring or close kin that survive to reproductive age.
Example of inducing mutations to investigate the genetic basis of behaviour
Drosophila (fruit fly) 'dunce' mutation unable to learn to avoid electric shock. Affects memory.
Example of using artificial selection to investigate the genetic basis of behaviour
Mice nest building - cotton

Mice wheel running/day
Model organisms for genetic experiments
Drosophila (fruit fly)

C. elegans (Nematode worm)
The ultimate explanation for migration
Animals who migrate do so because they leave more offspring
Migration costs:
Energy expenditure
Flying takes 6-8 x more energy than resting.

Migratory animals put on fat reserves prior to migrating

Snow buntings change direction if fat reserves are low
Migration costs:
Eleanora's falcon times breeding so young will hatch when migrating songbirds arrive.

Big cats track movement of migrating African ungulates

Wolves follow migrating caribou
Migration costs:
Inhospitable terrain
Terrestrial birds crossing the sea

Problems finding food or water

Obstacles:Lighthouses, sky scrapers, TV towers.
Migration costs:
Storms kill millions of migrating monarch butterflies.
Migration benefits:
Monarch butterflies: Canada -> Mexico

Food supply: Insectiverous Bats, Wildebeast follow rains (grass)
Migration: Why return?
North:Longer days

Mating sites: Pinnipeds, cetaceans
Migration benefits:
Predation reduction
Migratory ungulates,

North: short breeding season = simultaneous nesting (herd protection)
Migration: cues
Low food


Simple orientation: Kinesis
Rate of movement varies with strength of stimulus

e.g. Woodlice are more active in dry areas to find humidity
Simple orientation: Taxis
Movement towards or away from a stimulus based on direction.

Light: phototaxis
Gravity: Geotaxis
Chemical: Chemotaxis
Sound: Phonotaxis
Using familiar landmarks to find a goal
e.g. Salmon olfactory cues
Compasses used for orientation
Sun, stars, magnetism,

plane of polarisation


Evidence for compass orientation
Move animal to a distant location and determine whether it compensates.
e.g. Starlings were displaced experimentally. They flew in same direction and for same distance.
Evidence for genetic control of migratory direction in birds
Captive birds flutter in same direction as free birds, at same time of year.
Compass orientation:
Dead reckoning
Estimating direction of goal by using a 'sense of direction' i.e. compensating for previous twists and turns
e.g. A desert ant displaced away from it's nest will follow path which would had taken it home
True navigation
Ability to compensate for displacement using a mental 'map' and compass
e.g. Homing pigeon
Evidence for time compensated sun compass in birds
Birds can find food in a ring of boxes, but orientation lost when sun is blocked
e.g. Kramers starlings
Migratory restlessness
Innate period of unrest during migrating season
4 stages of a predator acquiring a food source



Term for an animal being active during the day
Term for an animal being active at night
Term for an animal being active during twilight
Term for the ability of an animal to avoid detection by a predator
3 example of camouflage in animals
Cephalopods use chromatophores to match their background

Leafy sea dragons look like seaweed

Counter-shading in fish, artiodactyls, birds etc
Term for a warning signal that prey is unpalatable/poisonous
3 examples of aposematism
Insect: Bees and wasps


Amphibian: Poison dart frog
Term for when two or more harmful species, that are not closely related and share one or more common predators, have come to mimic each other's warning signals.
Müllerian mimicry
An example of Müllerian mimicry
The unpalatable lycid beetle (Coleoptera),and an unpalatable arctiid moth (Lepidoptera)
Term for where a harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a common predator.
Batesian mimicry
An example of Batesian mimicry
harmless KING snakes mimic the deadly CORAL snake
Term for when a gazelle jumps high in the air to advertise its fitness to predators; making attack less likely.
Stotting: A pronouncement of vigilance
Term for when prey occur at high population densities, reducing the probability of an individual organism being eaten
Predator satiation
Benefits of predator satiation
Dilution and confusion effect (schooling fish)


Alarm calls

(safety in numbers)
Strategies to avoid consumption
Expendable body parts (Autotomy)

Chemical sprays (bombardier beetle)

Attract the predator of your predator
The term for the act whereby an animal severs one or more of its own appendages, usually as a self-defense mechanism designed to elude a predator's grasp.
A vertebrate which filter feeds
Baleen whale
An example of animals cultivating food
Leaf-cutter ants create gardens of fungus
sensory adaptation which enhances hunting ability in sharks and platipuses
Example of an optimal prey preference
Northwestern crows drop large whelks.

They break easier

They have more calories
Why don’t predators become so
efficient they drive prey to extinction?
Life-dinner principle
– Prey is running for its life
– Predator is running for its dinner
– Selection pressure stronger on prey

Prey improve more quickly - shorter generation times

Rare prey cause predators to seek other prey species
Why don’t prey evolve adaptations
that cause extinction of predator?
As predator numbers decrease, so does
selection pressure on prey
– Prey stop evolving counter-
– Predators become more numerous
– Selection pressure on prey
– Prey evolve more counter-
Hamilton's rule

r = coefficient of relatedness
B = benefit to recipient
C = cost to donor
Term for organisms which reproduce once in their lifetime
Term for organisms which have many reproductive cycles
An example of maternal care
Humpback whales
An example of paternal care
sea horses
An example of biparental care
Laysan albatross

(Many are female/female)
3 theories why females usually provide more parental care
Certainty of paternity

Order of gamete released

Association with young
Circumstances in which offspring recognition evolves
Term for Individuals having a single mate during breeding season (or longer)

e.g. Laysan Albatross
Term for Individuals of one sex mating with > 1 individuals of other sex
Term for when males mate with > 1 female

e.g. Northern elephant seals
Term for when females mate with > 1 male

e.g. Spotted sandpiper
Term for when both sexes mate with > 1 individual

e.g. Bottlenose dolphin
3 main kinds of polygyny

Resource defence

3 explanations why females accept polygyny
Polygyny threshhold hypothesis

Sexy son hypothesis

Best alternative hypothesis
Type of selection where weapons evolve through contests over mates
INTRAsexual selection
Type of selection where ornaments arise through choice of mate
INTERsexual selection
A form of reproduction in which dissimilar gametes, often differing in size, unite
Term for the ratio of sexually competing males to females that are ready to mate
Operational sex ratio

Intersexual selection:

Examples of material benefits (resources) when choosing a mate
Food - Nuptial gifts


Parental ability
Intersexual selection:

Examples of species with traits that indicate good genes
Red deer antler size

Elephant musth

Swallow tail length
Hamilton-Zuk parasite hypothesis
Traits indicate degree of parasite resistance
Handicap principle
An honest advertisement that the organism can survive despite being handicapped by an overlarge protrusion e.g. a long tail

Why young are targeted for killing between species
Smaller, less mobile, less defensible

Brood parasitism:
Circumstances under which infanticide occurs within a colony/family
Queen/Worker infanticide:

Brood = food store; When food short; Eat brood
Circumstances under which infanticide occurs by males
Grey langurs, Lions
Kill infants to bring females back in to estrus

Intergroup - reduce competition
Female adaptations to combat infanticide by males
Promiscuity - paternity uncertain

Female creche
Circumstances under which filial cannibalism occurs
Mother eats deformed offspring unable to climb onto her back

Mother eats youngest/weakest offspring when resources insufficient for litter
Circumstances under which maternal infanticide occurs
Resource shortage = Selective starvation

Filial cannibalism
Term for when the presence of a new male induces female abortion
The Bruce effect
Mate competition:

Scramble competition
• First male to arrive at female mates with her
• Males compete to outrace others to receptive female

• Selection favours
– Early search and swift location of mates
– Well-developed sensory and locomotory organs
– Earlier male than female emergence in insects

Noctuidae moths
• Male moths in the Noctuidae family can detect 1 ppb of female pheromone
• In some species females can’t fly
– Wait for male to find them
Mate competition:

Endurance rivalry
• Male RS correlated with amount of time at breeding site
– E.g. elephant seal; fallow deer
• Selection favours:
– Increased endurance (e.g. ability to store energy)
– Optimised energy use (e.g. efficient foraging)
Mate competition:

Contest competition
• Rivals display/fight in competition over mates or resources to attract mates
• Competitors usually sex with less PI
• Selection favours
– Traits improving fighting success (e.g. large size, strength; weapons)
– Traits improving display (e.g. elaborate and/or loud vocalisations)
– Alternative mating tactics
3 explanations for polyandry
Fertility insurance

Acquire better genes for offspring

Direct material benefits
The two main factors which promote group living

Food acquisition
Costs of group living

Competition for food, mates, nesting sites

More conspicuous to predators
Benefits of group living

Dilution effect

Defence: Mobbing, marguerite formation

Group hunting of large prey