Innate Behaviour | Ecology & Environment | Biology | FuseSchool


Innate behaviour is behaviour you are born
with, behaviour which you inherit because it is in your DNA. It is instinctive behaviour. For example,
a spider knows how to spin a web as soon as it is born, or a baby can suckle because it
is instinctive. The behaviour is intrinsic which means it
will be present even if an animal is raised on its own, without parents or others of its
species to teach it. It is also stereotypical which means the behaviour
will be performed in the same way each time. Innate behavior is thought to be inherited
through genes, and it can’t be changed by the individual, it is inflexible. It can be very complex and it does not have
to be learned, it will be fully developed from birth. Innate behavior is beneficial, and because
it is encoded in DNA it is subject to natural selection. This means overtime the genes that cause the
best behavior will become more common among the individuals of a species. A reflex is an example of innate behavior,
like when you automatically pull your hand away from something that is hot. You don’t
have to think about it, you didn’t have to learn to do it… as a human, it’s just
something that you do. A scientist named Lagerspetz tried to prove
that innate behaviour has a genetic base by selecting very aggressive mice, and breeding
them together. Aggressive mice would cross an electrified
grid to attack an opponent or would choose an opportunity to fight rather than remain
peaceful. The results were compared to a control of
mice with non-aggressive genetic lines. The result showed that a few genes affect
variation in fighting behaviour: when aggressive mice were bred together aggressive offspring
were produced. Winning enhanced fighting behaviour of aggressive
animals but not of initially non-aggressive animals. However, it is difficult to find purely innate
behavior because a lot of an animal’s behavior is the result of an interaction between genes
and the environment. Environmental conditions can alter innate behavior. There are 5 characteristics of innate behavior
that you need to remember. 1 It is heritable so it is passed on through
DNA 2 It is intrinsic so it is present in animals
raised in isolation from others 3 It is stereotypic so the behaviour will
be performed the same every time 4 It is also inflexible so it never changes,
even because of experience 5 And finally the behaviour is fully developed
or expressed at first performance, it is consummate. So, innate behavior is a pattern of inherited
or pre-set behavior that doesn’t require learning or practice.

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