Biodiversity Science ›› 2001, Vol. 09 ›› Issue (3): 265-274.doi: 10.17520/biods.2001041

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Structure, elasticity and diversity of animal behavior

JIANG Zhi-Gang, LI Chun-Wang, PENG Jian-Jun, HU Hui-Jian   

  1. Institute of Zoology , Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing  100080
  • Received:2001-05-31 Revised:2001-07-15 Online:2001-08-20
  • JIANG ZhiGang

The definition of behavior , the structure of behavior and diversity of behavior have been ignored by researchers for a long time. We defined the concepts of elasticity and inelasticity of animal behavior. We also studied the space requirements for animals to perform behavior. Based on these basic concepts , we discuss the relationship between habitat elements and behavioral diversity. We discovered that captive space affected the social behavior and communication behavior in Père David’s Deer. Available space also had a profound impact on aggregation behavior. Père David’s Deer that were kept in small pens showed no sign of sexual segregation. However , when the deer were released into the field , the stag left the hinds. Sexual segregation , which had been suppressed in the Père David’s deer population held in small pens , was resurgent once the animals had more space. We also discovered that male and female giant panda living in a larger captive space had more court ship behaviors and spent more time on activities. Thus space had a profound impact on court ship behavior of male or female giant pandas. Animals living in captive environment s for generations may only perform behaviors of high inelasticity and may loose behaviors of elasticity. Such a process will reduce behavioral diversity. Taking the saiga and Mongolian wild ass as examples , we point out that we should consider escape space and seasonal migration space requirement s when we keep endangered ungulates in captivity or establish reserves for them. Diversity of animal behavior is not only a fundamental component of biodiversity but it is also relevant to the successful conservation of endangered species , particularly ex sit u conservation. When we attempt to preserve endangered species in captivity , we should pay special attention to maintaining behavioral diversity of these animals , because behavioral diversity is an integral part of biodiversity.

Key words: special habitat, Taihangia rupestris, habitat analysis

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