How would you defend or contradict statement
Course:- Biology
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Proximate Factors of Behavior and Learning, Culture, Sexual Selection, and Mating Systems

Question 1: Read Koene 1996. Are the suggested methodologies by the author sensible, both in terms of gathering information about Umwelt and in terms of a valid methodology?

Question 2: One way to look at learning is to view it as a complex of adaptive behaviors that provide an organism with the flexibility and capacity to deal with the problems of survival and reproduction. How would you defend or contradict this statement: Invertebrates have less flexibility and a greater degree of preprogramming in their behavior than do vertebrates, and we would therefore expect invertebrates to exhibit fewer learning capacities than vertebrates.

Question 3: Read the following and discuss the social system of the Florida scrub jay, Aphelocomacoerulescens. Is cooperative breeding a viable strategy for natural selection when the individual in question never breeds?

Schoech, SJ, RL Mumme, JC Wingfield. 1996. Delayed breeding in the cooperatively breeding Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocomacoerulescens): inhibition or the absence of stimulation?

Question 4: Males typically compete for access to females and often obtain more than one mate, while females are particular about whom they mate with.

In balloon flies, however, the male supplies the female with large "gifts" in the form of captured prey or large, protein-rich sperm packets.

What differences might you expect to see in the reproductive behavior of such species when compared with the typical pattern described above?


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Balloon flies belongs to family of Empididae which has numerous species like Borealis, Hilara. It has a complex mating behaviour that female will mate with the male which brings large gifts. This is entirely different from rest other animal sexual behaviour. Mate choice is a kind of evolutionary process governed by few factors that attracts female over male such as color or brightness, odor, shape, strength or based on which male wins during male-male combat and other aesthetic traits.

This behaviour completely varies from balloon flies mate selection. When comes to the mate selection, the choice of female is governed in almost all animals and varies depends upon female desires over offspring traits. Empidid flies are also known as gift giving species in which male fly captures prey for female fly prior to copulation.

These kinds of flies live in swampy areas and usually swarm in evenings after catching the prey and body length of most of the prey ranges from 3-4 mm and the total body length of male fly is 6mm. Female fly enters the swarm and eventually mates with the male fly which carries prey and these prey are transferred while male initiates copulation with females. It is believed that entire copulation takes place during flight by attaching of male to female dorsum after transferring the nuptial gift.

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