Animal architecture

Hansell, M. (2019) Animal architecture. In: Choe, J. C. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior [2nd ed.]. Elsevier, pp. 1-16. ISBN 9780128132524 (doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-809633-8.90728-3)

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The complexity of animal building behavior varies from genetically constrained to flexible and creative. However, even invertebrates can create complex architecture using apparently stereotyped behavior routines. The anatomy employed for building behavior is jaws and/or paired limbs but these generally show little specialisation. Building materials can be either collected or self-secreted. Unlike collected materials, self-secreted ones such as mucus and silk are highly specialised, having co-evolved with the building behavior. The functions of built structures are, in order of importance, homes, traps and signals. Materials used in home building are varied. However, traps, which take the form of webs or nets, require advanced engineering and therefore require self-secreted materials; only invertebrates and some chordate Appendicularia make these structures. Devices used by vertebrates to obtain food take the form of tools; these are generally simple structures made from collected materials. Builders add complexity to the environment. In doing so they can enhance biological diversity and influence their own evolutionary pathway by inheriting environments that have already been altered by previous generations.

Item Type:Book Sections (Encyclopaedia entry)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hansell, Professor Michael
Authors: Hansell, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine

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