MS Life Science Lab Series
Lab 5: Animal Behavior

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    How Do Animals Respond to Stimuli?

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    Taxis is the term that describes the movement of a plant or animal in response to a stimulus, for example heat or food. These responses arose over time through evolution. By observing how an organism responds to a stimulus, scientists can make inferences about how the organism behaves in the wild. For example, scientists can use an understanding of an animal’s responses in pest management. Codling moth are a major pest for apple growers. Apple growers often use traps containing synthetic apple compounds to control the moths. This application is an example of chemotaxis (movement in response to a chemical stimulus).

    Watch Video 1

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    https://player.vimeo.com/video/440432915

    Observe

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    Did the fruit flies prefer the honey or the apple cider vinegar? Why do you think this was?

     

    Identify an Experimental Design Flaw

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    The experiment used wingless fruit flies. What would have been the difficulty of using winged fruit flies instead?

     

    Refine/Expand the Experiment

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    How do you think the fruit flies detect the various compounds? How could you expand the experiment to test your hypothesis?

     

    Watch Video 2

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    https://player.vimeo.com/video/440434358

    Practice Scientific Reasoning

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    With reference to information in Video 2, explain why you should not touch a nocturnal animal if you see it out during the day.

     

    Connect to Your World

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    Bees perform a waggle dance to provide other bees directions to a food source. The bees prefer to use the sun as a reference point when performing this dance. What other points of reference might a bee use to communicate this information when it is not sunny?

     

    At Home Extension

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    You can build a simple insect trap by inserting a funnel into the neck of a bottle. Build two such devices and place a different bait inside of each to see which is preferred by insects in your area.

    In School

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    If you would like to combine this activity with an in-school experience, try the following laboratory kit:

    Experimental Design with Pillbugs—Guided-Inquiry Kit

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