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social behaviour


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Any behaviour exhibited by a group of animals that interact with each other. Social behaviour ranges from moving as a herd in order to minimize the effects of predators to performing designated roles in highly organized societies. For example, within a colony of bees specific tasks, including tending the larvae, foraging for food, and controlling the temperature within the colony by wing fanning, are performed by different individuals (see caste). The application of evolutionary theory to social behaviour is termed sociobiology. This field is concerned primarily with genetically determined aspects of behaviour and their adaptive significance in terms of natural selection and reproductive success. See also eusocial.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.


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