The main directions of studying the behavior of animals...

The main directions of studying the behavior of animals in nature

Currently, field observations are an integral part of any high-grade zoological research on the biology of the species. Studies of the behavior of animals in nature are conducted in different directions. In some cases, some part of the behavioral complex is studied, for example, aggressive behavior, migration, nest building or tool activity, in others, on the contrary, the whole complex of behavior of one species is studied. Such studies may relate to one species or be of a comparative nature and affect different taxonomic groups. Many works devoted to behavior are associated with a comprehensive study of populations and processes occurring in them.

The most difficult problem is the physiological analysis of behavior observed directly in the natural environment. Here, as a rule, the researcher is faced not only with the influence of a large number of environmental factors and living conditions, but also with a population of a species that is heterogeneous in genetic composition, with considerable individual variability among its individual representatives. Works carried out in nature are effective only if the experimental equipment is well equipped. Therefore, a large proportion of these studies are carried out in conditions that are only approximate to natural, as well as tamed animals grown under artificial conditions.

In the process of such studies, the behavior of many animal species has been studied. These works significantly expanded the range of studied species and taxonomic groups.

The specific direction of research is the study of communicative processes. Work in this direction gives important theoretical results, and opens new perspectives for controlling animal behavior. Quite a special place is occupied by the problem of the language of animals, including a comprehensive study of all types of communications that are its components. Studies devoted to this topic are conducted in both natural and laboratory settings. A special part of the language problem is the work devoted to the training of animals to intermediary languages. Such work is carried out mainly in the laboratory and will be considered by us a little later.

One more direction in the study of behavior was the study of daily rhythms of animal activity. The influence of external and internal factors on the daily rhythm of activity was studied. The general properties of the daily rhythm of different taxonomic groups have been established: endogeneity - connection with the whole organization of the animal; inertia - keeping the rhythm for a while after changing the external conditions; lability, adaptability. It turned out, for example, that light is the main synchronizing factor, and temperature, wind, precipitation have a desynchronizing effect.

It was shown that instinctive behavior largely depends on seasonal rhythms, which contribute to a certain periodicity of the animal's life processes, for example, reproduction, migrations, food storage, etc. The manifestation of some instinctive actions in a number of animal species is influenced by solar, lunar and other biological rhythms.

In studying the behavior of animals in nature, great attention is paid to such issues as population structure, types of populations, intrapopulation and intragroup relationships, population evolution and the role of populations in evolution. A great contribution to the study of the structure of animal populations was made by such luminaries of domestic zoology as Η. P. Naumov (1902-1987) and And. A. Shilov (1921-2001).

H. P. Naumov showed that the maintenance of a complex system of intraspecific groupings, as well as the management of their dynamics, is ensured through a system of communication channels and a signal-generated biological field created by animals that has enormous information value for all organisms that inhabit this biogeocenosis.

And. A. Shilov from the whole diversity of the spatial and ecological structure of the population identifies two basic principles of construction, differing in the way they use the territory. The species leading a sedentary lifestyle are characterized by an intensive type of space use. For those species that lead a nomadic way of life, there is an extensive type of use of the territory. Both types of use of the territory can in turn be differentiated into smaller classes, each of which is characterized by a very special intra-group relationship. Such a classification of populations is very useful for studying the social behavior of animals.

A lot of work is done on intrapopulation relationships in representatives of different species. Similar studies have been conducted on animals of a wide variety of taxonomic groups, but the most traditional of these have been and continue to be rodents.

Most of the work is carried out on animals placed in artificial, close to natural conditions. In some cases, researchers were able to combine work under such conditions with observations in nature.

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