Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
ISBN: 9781337408332



Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
ISBN: 9781337408332
Textbook Problem

For billions of years, the only bright objects in the night sky were stars or the moon. Night-flying moths used these light sources to navigate in a straight Line. Today, the instinct to fly toward bright objects causes moths to exhaust themselves fluttering around streetlights and banging against brightly lit windowpanes. This behavior is not adaptive, so why does it persist?

Summary Introduction

To explain: The reason for the behavior of night-flying moths that fly toward bright objects is not adaptive.

Concept introduction: Behavior is the capacity of an animal to learn through experience. Behavioral ecology is study of how natural selection shapes the behavior of an organism. Studies of behavioral differences within a species or among related species can shed light on the proximate causes of a behavior and the ultimate causes that favored the behavior. Behavioral traits are influenced by an animal’s environment. Some environmentally induced variations in behavior occur due to epigenetic effects.


For billion years ago, night-flying moths used only bright objects like stars and moon light for its navigation. These days, these moths drain themselves around the streetlights and lights near windowpanes. This is not an adaptive behavior. The attraction of night-flying moths toward streetlights is due to instinctive behavior. This occurs due to previous experience. When the stimulus constantly activates the behavior at specific situation, instinctive behavior arises...

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