Pill Bug

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Another lab report sample: This is Natasha and Stephanie’s first attempt at a lab report – so bear that in mind as you read this sample report…….

Natasha Duell
Stephanie Moeller
AP Bio/Sastry
10 September 2007

Pill Bug Environmental Preferences Based on Moisture

Abstract (Stephanie)
This lab explores the concepts of kinesis and taxis; the two simplest forms of movement. After looking through all of our data, it seems as though the pill bugs were most attracted to environment number three, which was the muddy area. The pill bugs moved from here to the wet-dry environment (were they were hoping to escape) constantly. These results prove that pill bugs not only like moisture, but that they need it to survive. We also observed that they liked to stay close to each other in clumps, which again proves that they need humid, cramped areas to prosper. Overall, pill bugs thrive in moist, small areas and will be found living in that type of environment. Objectives (Natasha)

The purpose of this lab is to determine the general environmental preferences of pill bugs based on different moisture levels. In performing this lab, we were looking to see what the desired living conditions of pill bugs were, and why. With consistent observation of their behaviors in the shoe box, such as their ways of settling in, mating behaviors, social interactions, etc., we could determine why the pill bugs chose the environment that they did. In order to understand the lab, we needed to know the basic bodily functions of the pill bugs. An example of vital information that we needed to know is that pill bugs have gills, which then brought us to the conclusion that they had to develop gills for survival because they live in moist environments. Introduction and Guidelines (Natasha)

Orienting behavior is when an animal detects and uses compass directions to travel in a specific, straight path to a certain point, or until it reaches its destination. Usually, this animal will travel in this path in relation to some spatial feature of its environment. This behavior is related to taxis and kinesis in that the animal is moving toward, away, or in relation to a certain stimulus. Pill bugs demonstrate orienting behaviors in nature when they move towards moisture. Pill bugs need to live in moist environments because they have gills and without moisture, they would dry out. Also, according to Red Planet Inc., the outer shell of a pill bug is not waxy as it should be to prevent desiccation. Should a pill bug be moved from its home underneath a log and into a drier region, the pill bug will immediately begin looking for a moist environment and more specifically, a log like that of its home. Pill bugs can find suitable living conditions (dark, moist places) by using their gills to determine the areas that are easier for them to breath in. Pill bugs also use their sensory antennas when orienting to help feel their way around to their destination. Although pill bugs do develop eyes at adulthood, younger pill bugs must rely on their antennas.

Orienting behavior is important for an animal in that it is a useful trait for reaching its desired destination. Being able to use environmental stimuli for assistance in reaching a certain destination is a very complex, and helpful trait for animals to have. When an animal finds an area that is filled with food in an environment that is otherwise scarce of this resource, the animal’s orientation will help bring it back to that area, and therefore improve its chance of survival. For pill bugs specifically, orienting behavior is important because there are situations in which the pill bug will depend on it for survival. Dr. Jonathan Wright of Northern State University states that if a pill bug in a dry location cannot find its way to a moist spot, it could eventually dry out and die (Wright, 1997).

The proximate causes of orientation could be temperature, or humidity in particular for pill...
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