Homeostasis Behavioral

P. Kirk Visscher

University of California, Riverside

Behavioral homeostasis refers to mechanisms of behavior that allow an insect or group of insects to maintain conditions within a certain range of values. These conditions may be the temperature of the body or the environment, internal water balance or environmental humidity, nutritional state or food stores, the balance between different activities of the individual or of the group, or the number and composition of individuals in a group. Behavioral mechanisms of homeostasis are important to individual insects, whether solitary individuals or part of a group, and include such nearly universal behaviors as feeding and drinking, as well as behavior concerned with thermoregulation and habitat choice. This article, though, is mostly concerned with homeostasis in groups of insects, such as the colonies of bees, wasps, ants, and termites. Individual behavioral homeostasis in physiological regulation, thermoregulation, and habitat choice are covered elsewhere in this encyclopedia.

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