What is an ethogram?

a catalog of an animal’s behavioral repetoire, detailing the different forms of behavior that are displayed by an animal

Importance of constructing ethograms

Some important points:

• • •

it is desirable to create an ethogram in which the categories of behavior are objective, discrete, and do not overlap with each other; definitions should be clear, detailed and distinguishable from each other; can be as specific or general as the study warrants e.g. research project dealing strictly with aggressive behavior in chimpanzees can be composed simply of the various forms of aggression displayed by that species deal with the general pattern of chimpanzee behavior

for objective and valid observations:
• choose one observation group: individual, pair or a litter • make observations at same time for days • avoid interpreting behaviors other than what is observed

Laboratory activity
Obtain M. musculus Confined in cage alone with food, water, paper Observe behavior at same time of the day for 3 days at most Identify behavior exhibited by the animal Determine the amount of time (in minutes) spent by the animal on a particular behavior Record the flow of activities done by the mouse

What to do with the information gathered?
• come up with an organized information by presenting information in: • tabular manner • graphical form • ethogram flow chart

For simplicity of presentation, one can do the following:

• group similar behavior: related to feeding, grooming, playing, etc.

• In the succeeding slides, grooming behaviors such as: • ‘combing’ of head • ‘combing’/licking of body • ‘combing’/licking of leg were presented in: • Tabular • Graphical • Flow ethogram

Daytime grooming behavior of female M musculus #1 after 1 hr observation
Activities Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Total time spent for 3 days 3.41 .23 .63 Time spent in %age for 3 days 79.86 5.38 14.75

‘comb’ head ‘comb’/ lick legs

.77 0

2.52 0 0

.12 .13 .63

‘comb/lick 0 body’

Percentage of daytime grooming activities of female M. musculus for 3 days (I hr observation) in relation to other behaviors
2.37% is spent on grooming for 3 days, i.e., 4.27 min /180 min for 3 days All other activities, 97.63% ‘comb’/lick body; 14.75% ‘comb’/lick legs; 5.38%

‘comb’ head, 79. 86%

Sequence of events as gathered from actual observation when you listed the sequence of behavior from start to finish

‘comb’ head

Size indicate the amount spent on behavior
Width of arrow indicates the frequency at which a behavioral transition occurs. in this example: there were 14 other behaviors manifested b4 it lick its body (thick arrow) Leg licking – followed immediately after body licking (thin arrow) There were 7 other behaviors manifested b4 body licking recurred (thicker arrow)

‘comb’/ lick body

‘comb’/ lick leg Ethograms can be as simple as this

• Or can be as complex as this example in the leg of D. melanogaster)

What is important:
• one is able to convey important information in a simple and organized way • one can now interpret such behavior in relation to the overall activities of the organism
• (example: after constructing the grooming ethogram of mouse, we can do another ethogram: on activities that indicate presence of ectoprasite: [vigorous body scratching, head scratching] then relate the ethograms after)

• learn more about the organism under study

As an exercise, you can go back to your data and construct your own simple ethogram, like all activities related to feeding 

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