6. Behaviour

What you need to know...
  • What is behaviour?
  • How can an animal's behaviour help it survive?

What is behaviour?
In biology, behaviour can be described as how an animal responds to various stimuli. These behaviours may be instinctive or learned.

How can an animal's behaviour help it survive?
There are several examples of how behaviour can increase a chance of an animals's survival.
Swarming is where animals gather or travel together in large numbers. Some animals swarm to defend themselves against predators. An individual in a swarm is much less likely to be attacked than an individual on its own.

Imprinting is a learning process where a young animal establishes a bond to another (usually another animal of its own kind). The picture below shows young ducks who are imprinted onto their mother. This behaviour has a benefit as the mother will look after them, provide food and protect them from danger.

Migration is when animals move long distances in order to survive. Animals migrate long distances to find food, shelter, to find a mate or to give birth and raise young. The picture below shows Wildebeest migrating between the Serengeti, Tanzania and the Masai Mara, Kenya. The purpose of their migration is to find food, drinking water as well as staying as a group for protection purposes.

Animals have many ways to communicate. Dart frogs communicate that they are poisonous though their bright colours. Fireflies communicate with potential mates by flashing a light in their abdomen. Honey bees indicate the direction and distance to patches of flowers which have nectar by doing a waggle dance!