The folllowing sample essay on Animal Behavior Lab Report discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
This was done by creating palatable and non-palatable red, green, and purple prey out of flour and lard. They were placed on a feeding try in random arrays with the same relative frequencies twice daily. Our groups null hypothesis was that there would be no particular preference in the colors of prey that were removed by the birds.
After concluding our results we were able to reject our null hypothesis because our data indicated that there in fact was a particular preference in prey color chosen by the birds.
Introduction There are so many different species throughout nature that different species deed to find ways to survive and not become victim to their predators. One tactic that species use in nature is mimicry. Species that are not poisonous will mimic the characteristics of other species that are.
This will evade their predator keeping them safe and unharmed as a prey. Although there are many different types of mimicry, there are two main forms; Batteries mimicry and Millenarian mimicry. Batteries mimicry describes when there is an unpalatable model species and a palatable mimic species.
The mimic takes on the appearance of a species that is harmful to predators in order to protect itself. The predator is not able to extinguish between the two and therefore does not try to attack either of the two species.
The other important form of mimicry is called the Millenarian mimicry, in which the model is not defined and several unpalatable species share warning colors or patterns to evade predation. Both models and mimics are toxic. The advantage is that the predators need only encounter one form to shun the entire complex (brainlessness 2007). This study deals specifically with the Batteries form of mimicry.
Nature provides many different examples of this, such as many different species of butterflies and yellow jackets (Banshee, 2012). In Batteries mimicry there are three major roles that complete the mimicry. They are the predator, the model species, and the mimic. The model should experience increases in attacks, while the mimic benefits, and the predator ultimately loses food. After several encounters the predator species with the unpalatable model species will learn to stay away from any species that looks like or mimics the unpleasant tasting species.
For this situation to be successful there are many different factors that need to be brought together. The mimic has to be much less frequent than the model, so that the predator will be much more likely to earn the meaning of the toxic signal. This is the first way of implementing our learning tactic. Also resembling the model is extremely important. The mimic role must be extremely close in relation to the model in order for the predator to be deceived. If one of these factors is changed than other factors could stray from the normality of the mimicry.
An example of this would be that if the mimic species is not presented frequently enough than the predator may not get a negative correlation and learn from the situation. Our study deals with the learning responses from the birds to different frequencies of mimic species. We in return hypothesized from our knowledge on animal foraging that learning would occur in the birds and they would choose the palatable species over the non-palatable species. Methods The method that we used in our experiment deals with a feeding station.
An outdoor feeding station was established in Chocolates, Vermont on Saint Michaels College campus. The station was located in a field across the street and behind an astronomy tower surrounded by trees. Our class chose to use red, green, and purple as the prey colors. After a group discussion took place on which colors would best fit this was our conclusion. We chose to use green as the palatable prey, purple as the mostly palatable, and red as the distasteful prey. The mostly palatable prey consisted of % palatable, while the mostly distasteful prey only consisted of 1/4 palatable.
Flour and lard were the ingredients in the recipe that we used for the prey. The addition of quinine sulfate was given to the distasteful prey to add to the repulsive reaction of the predator (Banshee, 2012). Next the prey was then colored according to the chosen colors by our class. The red coloring was created using two bottles of red dye in increments of 0 drops, while the green coloring was created using 100 drops of green dye in 25 drop increments. The purple coloring was created in class on the same day but the data for replicating the purple pigment has been misplaced.
After the prey was colored the class cut the floury lard prey into roughly (mm) sections long. They were then labeled in accordance to their palatability. We then randomized the arrays of prey so that the relative frequencies of colors would remain relatively similar. Preys were placed at the feeding station located on Saint Michaels College twice a day each day for five days. The method for putting the prey out at the taxation and taking trays in was divided up between the students in the class. The first tray was set out between 800 and 900 hours.
The time for collection is labeled on the x-axis, while the prey removal in percentages is labeled on the y-axis. As you can see in the results the colors of prey that were set out and removed varied from the colors that were presented earlier in the methods section. This was due to the lack poor results that were accumulated over our five day period. There were many factors that affected the results from our experiment and with that the results presented thus far are from a previous class in 2009.
As you can clearly see in the results, Tuesday (Day 5) had the highest number of prey removals, with 66 in the morning, and 43 in the afternoon (table 1). Sunday (Day 3) had the second highest number of prey removals, with 71 in the morning, ND 30 in the afternoon (table 1). Friday (Day 1) had the least amount of prey removals out of the five days, with only 18 in the morning, and 6 in the afternoon (table 1). The red prey had the highest number of pellets that were removed, followed by green and blue (table 2, graph 1).
Discussion & Final Conclusions Based upon the information we already knew we expected to find through our experiment that the birds would experience some sense of learning over the five day period. Some sense of learning did not mean that there needed to be a complete dominant prey removed, but evidence that some adjustment had oaken place from day 1 of the experiment to day 5 favoring the palatable specimen. As far as the color of the prey, we hypothesized that the red/all palatable prey would be the most preferred, and the blue/ % palatable prey would have some preference.
The null hypothesis that we formulated as a group said that there would be no particular preference in foraging behaviors in the number of prey removed. After concluding the experiment we were then able to reject our null hypothesis with sufficient evidence based upon our results. Table 2 and Graph 1 in our results show that the red prey, which was all palatable was cost preferred. The blue and green prey did not show a great significance between one another because there were days when more blue prey were removed and other days when more green prey were removed.
If you look at overall change from day 1 of the experiment to day 5 of the experiment the blue/ 3/4 palatable prey did show a sign of significance in learning though. Table 2 and Graph 1 are once again evidence of this learning process as you can see day 1 there were a very minimal amount of prey removed and day 5 depicted a dramatic increase in removal. It is important to note that the original experiment planned for six days of electing but due to unfortunate weather conditions on Monday the data was washed and unable to show a significance.
Some could argue that the birds may have found the food to be profitable to them strictly because it was made from a high calorie lard sample. This would be extremely rare for birds around Chocolates, Vermont to find between the months of February and April. Although this may be true, the pigments of prey chosen were significantly different and did not show a sign of poor mimicry. Red, Blue, and Green pigments were clearly chosen to deviate the palatability between prey and can only be used to support our findings.
A reason for the deviation between green and blue prey not being as significant could result in weather conditions at the time. It is most likely that it was a sunny clear sky day when the results supported our hypothesis making it easier for the birds to see exactly which prey they were taking. A snowy overcast day could have affected the vision of the bird and explain why some days the green only 1/4 palatable prey was chosen. Also the birds may have even put foraging aside on days when the weather conditions were severe and took cover from the weather resulting in a decrease in removal of prey.