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Chapter 15: Animal Behavior

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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The ants in this picture are known as leafcutter ants. They cut leaves and carry them back to their nest. In the nest, ants will chew the leaves and then use them as a garden for growing fungi. The fungi will provide food for ant larvae in the nest.

Are young leafcutter ants taught how to cut and carry leaves by older ants? Or do they just “know” how to do it when they hatch? Animals have different behaviors for different reasons. Some of the behaviors are learned. Some of the behaviors animals know how to do without any teaching or training. In the case of leafcutter ants, the ants know from the time they hatch how to cut and carry leaves. No one needs to teach them how to do it. Is this different from human behaviors? Are there certain behaviors you know how to do from birth? Or do you have to learn every new behavior? You’ll find answers to questions such as these when you read this chapter.

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