Animal Behavior


  • Michael Breed, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • Michael Breed, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • Janice Moore, Biology Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • Janice Moore, Biology Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Animal Behavior uses Tinbergen’s four questions-causation, survival value, ontogeny and evolution-to formulate animal behavior and impart logic to the field of scientific inquiry. Comprised of fifteen chapters, the book opens with a discussion of the physiological aspects of behavior and the intricacies of social behavior as they relate to individual animals’ behavior. After an introduction to evolution and animal behavior, the book discusses the physiological and genetic basis of behavior. It addresses behavioral homeostasis and different aspects of animal behavior, learning, and cognition. The book also connects animal behavior to neural processes, and it discusses the underlying mechanisms of communication. It also offers chapters about behavior ecology in relation to animal behavior, such as movement, foraging, self-defense, mating systems, nesting, parenting and territoriality, and social behavior. The book concludes with a chapter on conservation behavior. In presenting these topics, the book offers an accessible means of studying animal behavior, major principles, mechanisms, and controversies.
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Intermediate and advanced undergraduate students in animal behavior courses


Book information

  • Published: February 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-372581-3


"Breed & Moore present an accessible introduction to behaviour that simultaneously captures the dynamic nature and diversity of the field. The text is focused on functional and evolutionary approaches to questions in behaviour, addressing only the bare bones of neural, physiological and genetic mechanisms. Thorough coverage is provided of empirical and theoretical approaches to learning and cognition, cooperation and social behaviour, foraging and movement, and sexual selection and parental care. Topical and relevant areas are emphasized, such as the intersection between conservation and behaviour, and predicting behavioural responses to climate change."--Animal Behaviour 84 (2012) 289-291

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Of Cockroaches and Wolves: Framing Animal Behavior

1.1 Introduction: Animal Behavior

1.2 Wolves: Lessons in Social Behavior

1.3 Cockroaches: Models for Animal Behavior

1.4 The Four Questions Revisited

1.5 Evolution: A Review

1.6 The Study of Animal Behavior: Where Did It Come From?

1.7 Umwelt: The World in Which Animals Behave


Study Questions

Chapter 2 Neurobiology and Endocrinology for Animal Behaviorists

2.1 Neurobiology, Endocrinology, and Sensory Systems: An Overview

2.2 What Does an Animal Behaviorist Need to Know about Neurobiology?

2.3 What Does an Animal Behaviorist Need to Know about Endocrinology?

2.4 What Does an Animal Behaviorist Need to Know about Sensory Systems?


Study Questions

Chapter 3 Behavioral Genetics

3.1 Introduction: Principles of Behavioral Genetics and the Evolution of Behavior

3.2 The Nature versus Nurture Debate

3.3 Evolution and Behavior

3.4 The Behavioral Genetics Toolbox


Study Questions

Chapter 4 Homeostasis and Time Budgets

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Behavior and Homeostasis

4.3 Biological Clocks and Circadian Rhythms

4.4 Modern Concepts of Homeostatic Regulation

4.5 Time Budgets and Trade-Offs: Balancing Demands in How Animals Budget Their Time


Study Questions

Chapter 5 Learning

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Learning and Memory

5.3 Basic Models for Learning

5.4 Social Learning: Traditions and “Cultural” Transmission of Information in Animals

5.5 Play, Learning, and Development


Study Questions

Chapter 6 Cognition

6.1 Introduction: What Is Cognition?

6.2 The Concept of Self

6.3 Thought, Foresight, and Problem Solving

6.4 Intelligence and Social Cognition

6.5 Personality and Behavioral Syndromes

6.6 The Frontal Lobe and Impulse Control

6.7 Animal Emotions

6.8 Are Cognitive Abilities Under- or Over-Attributed to Animals?


Study Questions

Chapter 7 Communication

7.1 Introduction: Communication Theory

7.2 The Evolution of Communication

7.3 Modes of Communication

7.4 Multimodal Signaling and Encoding Complex Messages

7.5 Runaway Sexual Selection and Signaling

7.6 Deceit versus Honest Signaling

7.7 Game Theory and Communication

7.8 Interspecific Signaling


Study Questions

Chapter 8 Movement: Search, Navigation, Migration, and Dispersal

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Sources of Navigational Information

8.3 Sensing the Environment in Time and Space

8.4 How to Respond to Sensory Information: A Toolbox for Finding the Way

8.5 Search

8.6 Homing

8.7 Migration

8.8 Dispersal


Study Questions

Chapter 9 Foraging

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Diet Choice and Food Selection

9.3 How Animals Get Food

9.4 Willing Food

9.5 Manipulation of Prey

9.6 Parasitic Life Cycles

9.7 Foraging and Optimality Theory

9.8 Optimal Patch Choice

9.9 Optimal Prey Choice

9.10 Nutritional Constraints


Study Questions

Chapter 10 Self-Defense

10.1 Introduction

10.2 Cryptic Behavior: Camouflage

10.3 Vigilance and Alarm

10.4 Mimicry and Diversion

10.5 Evasion

10.6 Predator Deterrence and Fighting Back

10.7 Pathogen Avoidance/Deterrence and Sickness Behavior


Study Questions

Chapter 11 Mating Systems

11.1 Introduction

11.2 The Evolution of Sex: Why Some Animals Are Called Male and Others Female

11.3 Sexual Selection

11.4 Variance in Mating Success

11.5 Mate Choice

11.6 Mating Systems: How Many Males, How Many Females?

11.7 Hormones and Sexual Behavior

11.8 Hormones, Territoriality, and Aggression

11.9 Sperm Competition

11.10 Good Genes Models for Choosing a Mate

11.11 Forced Copulations


Study Questions

Chapter 12 Nesting, Parenting, and Territoriality

12.1 Introduction

12.2 Nests and Nesting

12.3 Parental Investment

12.4 Patterns of Parental Care

12.5 Hormones and Parental Behavior

12.6 Parenting and Conflicts of Interest

12.7 Begging and Weaning Conflict

12.8 Sibling Conflict

12.9 Infanticide

12.10 Aggression and Territoriality


Study Questions

Chapter 13 Social Behavior, Cooperation, and Kinship

13.1 Introduction

13.2 Altruism or Selfish Interests?

13.3 Schools, Flocks, Hordes, and Herds

13.4 Explaining Cooperation

13.5 Extreme Cooperation: Eusociality

13.6 Lack of Ecological Choice in Aid-Giving Decisions

13.7 Social Recognition, Kin Recognition, and Cooperation with Close Relatives

13.8 Social Symbioses


Study Questions

Chapter 14 Comparative Social Behavior

14.1 Introduction

14.2 Vertebrate Social Systems

14.3 Invertebrate Eusociality: Workers and the Division of Labor

14.4 Invertebrate Eusociality: Queens and Reproduction

14.5 Invertebrate Eusociality: Colony Defense

14.6 Eusocial Invertebrates


Study Questions

Chapter 15 Conservation and Behavior

15.1 Introduction: Conservation and the Future of Animal Behavior

15.2 Species Protection in Natural Habitats

15.3 Extinctions and Behavior

15.4 Reserve Design

15.5 Captive Breeding Programs and Reintroductions

15.6 The Human-Wildlife Interface in the Suburbs

Summary: The Future and Conservation Behavior

Study Questions