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  • This video shows some of the behavior that ants exhibit.
  • Notice the workers moving the larvae or pupae around.
  • Notice the ant with wings. This is a queen.
  • Try to learn the role that queen ants have.
  • Colonies of aphids may develop near the top of fireweed plants.
  • To find them look for darkish areas on the plants.
  • These are often tended by red ants which eat the sugary honeydew excreted by the sap-feeding aphids.
  • The ants typically stimulate the aphids with their front legs which causes them to excrete the honeydew.
  • The ants then lap up this sugary sap.
  • The ants generally protect aphids from insect predators.
  • What would be the main benefit for both the ants and aphids for this behavior?
  • This relationship between ants and aphids is termed mutualistic i.e. the ants get food, and the aphids get protection.
  • For more information open up Natural Connections in Alaska and go to page 30.
  • To understand the benefits of this behavior for aphids look at Ants THE EFFECTS OF MUTUALISTIC ANTS ON APHID LIFE HISTORY TRAITS by THOMAS FLATT AND WOLFGANG W. WEISSER
  • This video on Yellow Warblers Feeding their Chicks shows both male and female warblers bringing in food.
  • Of interest is the parents take the kids poop and fly off with it. Look what happened when one chick pooped at the side of the nest.
  • This video could be used as an introduction to how animals cope with toxic plants.
  • How do Wild Herbivores, such as these marmots, Cope with Plant Toxins? An article created by members of a graduate Foraging Ecology Class  at the University of Idaho and Washington State University under the direction of Drs. Karen Launchbaugh and Lisa Shipley mentions:
  • Although toxic plants can cause negative effects, herbivores may still consume them because of the plant's nutritional quality, palatability, availability, or addictive chemical properties.
  • Animal nutritional state Nutritional stress can contribute to animal consumption of toxic plants. An animal's perception of toxic plants may change when it is starved or deprived, as undernourished or hungry deer may select less palatable or toxic plants that they would reject when forage is plentiful.
  • Mixing diets. Herbivores eat more than one plant in each meal. By eating a mixture of plants containing different toxins the negative effects of ingesting one toxin may be diminished. Thus, mule deer are able to eat two times more of a toxic plant when they ingest a mixed diet than when they eat one poisonous plant alone.
  • Cyclic consumption . Herbivores can avoid toxicities by limiting or varying the consumption of a specific toxic plant each day or until toxins cause negative feedback. For example grazing studies with tall larkspur showed that consumption above 25 to 30% of this plant for 1 or 2 days reduced the intake on subsequent days.
  • Tolerate the toxin. Although little is known about the tolerance of wildlife species to plant toxins, tolerance to toxic compounds might be the best way for animals to diminish the risk of poisoning. Different animal species and individuals within a species are more or less tolerant to toxic plants than others. For example, mule deer are more tolerant of locoweed than pronghorn antelope, and elk are more tolerant of ponderosa pine than bison. Microbial adaptations in the gut can be induced by consumption of small quantities of plant toxins and thus provide an opportunity for the animal's system to adapt to the toxin.
  • You can learn more by reading
  • From Pacific Salmon Life Histories. Edited by C. Groot and L. Margolis and in the chapter by William R. Heard on the Life History of Pink Salmon: When returning pink salmon appear near the mouths of streams, they are usually seen swimming near the surface and often exhibit a characteristic leaping behavior. Individuals leave the water, after a rapid swimming burst, in a forward leaping motion with their body initially oriented dorsoventrally, and then quickly rotated laterally, so the fish “falls” on its side or back (Berg 1948). A rapid series of jumps by the same fish often takes place. Reasons for this behavior are unknown.

  • In this video try to observe the above in the various fish (mostly chum salmon) jumping.

  • Think about possible reasons such as they may be trying to clean parasites from gills and scales, or as a side effect of increased and rapid hormonal changes, or just out of agitation.

  • We did do one article on salmon titled Salmon in Winter by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • And another The Gifts of Salmon by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • This video is meant as an introduction to sockeye salmon on their spawning grounds and a few of the benefits they provide to other creatures.