Pill Bug Lab

Topics: Woodlouse, Armadillidiidae, Armadillidium Pages: 9 (2704 words) Published: September 6, 2008
Pill bugs live in an outside environment where they are able to get the necessary amount of energy from organic matter. This environment is where water and organic matter is plentiful. In there natural habitat, pill bugs are found in dark, damp places. Living in moist places is important for pill bugs so they can take in enough water, and if water is not available, they group together to prevent water loss. Pill bugs most often live in dark places because they have a negative photo taxis. Darker places also tend to be cooler and damper. Each experiment connected to how the pill bugs would behave in a certain environment. We were able to test these experiments in a laboratory way to see if the natural environments were also true. If pill bugs are given a light and dark environment, then they will prefer the dark environment. If pill bugs were put in a warm or cold environment, they will prefer the cooler temperature. If pill bugs were in a dry or moist are, they would flock to the moist are. In the last experiment we tested to see if they preferred shelter or unsheltered environments, for which they choose unsheltered. After doing all four experiments, it was clear that pill bugs have a concise behavioral pattern in each environment. This lab’s purpose is to help differentiate kinesis and taxis movements. These movements are seen throughout all animals and they help us learn how animals react to a stimulus. In order to see how animals react to certain environments, we set up four tests and used pillbugs as our specimen. Through these four experiments, we were able to conclude that the pillbugs liked dark, damp, sheltered and hot spaces as oppose to light, dry, open and cold areas. This was concluded because, as shown in Tables/Figures 1, 2, 3, 4; the bugs seemed to congregate in the dark, damp, sheltered and hot chambers mostly. However, for a few minutes in each of the experiment, the bugs did not respond in the way we had hypothesized. This could be due to the fact that these animals have been used for prior experiments for weeks and weeks. These animals are obviously aggravated from these experiences; therefore they might not have wanted to go through it all again and did not want to cooperate with us as a whole. My hypothesis is that these animals will prefer the cold, sheltered, dark and damp habitats as opposed to hot, open, light and dry environments. INTRODUCTION

There are many different ways to classify animal behavior and behavioral types. Behavior in terms of an animal’s response is a result of sensory input and falls within the categories of innate (inherited) and learned behaviors. When an animal is in a favorable environment it is called orientation behavior (Laboratory Manual 137).When an animal moves either toward or away from heat, light, or moisture, it’s called taxis. When an animal’s movement is completely random, it is called kinesis. The way an organism moves can be either taxis or kinesis. Another kind of behavior is how organisms behave when mating. Part of the mating ritual involves agnostic behavior where animals respond to each other with aggressive or submissive behaviors. Behavior with other organisms includes appearances, movements, and interactions with each other. Terrestrial isopods are land dwelling crustaceans, commonly known as sowbugs or pill bugs (or roly-pollies). While they look similar, sow bugs are different from pill bugs. An Animal’s behavior is often erratic and hard to study. However, in a controlled environment, it is easily done. We used Pillbugs in this lab, and placed them in various conditions. We tested to see if they would prefer a damp over dry environment, a hot over cold, a dark versus light and an open environment over a sheltered one. A natural defense mechanism for the Pillbugs is to curl themselves up into a tight ball and basically, play dead. When set in various conditions they can perform orientation behaviors. These behaviors...
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