Marcus Cohen, a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado, visited our classroom today to provide a hands-on and engaging experience about animal behavior specifically territoriality. His demonstration coincided with the start of our study of animals.
"Many male animals will defend territories to protect limited resources and compete for the attention of females. Marcus will be bringing in some of his pet male Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), and students will investigate the competitive and defensive behaviors (e.g., flaring or puffing gills, color change) of these fish. These fish are easily recognized by their bright colors and large flowing fins. They are frequently kept individually in small cups at pet stores (otherwise they might fight to the death). After learning about the ecology and various displays of these amazing fish, students will hold a tournament using live fish to determine which male has the best displays. These fish provide a hands-on way to experience complex behaviors that are widespread throughout the animal kingdom in a classroom setting."