By Theodore Savory

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Additional info for Instinctive Living. A Study of Invertebrate Behaviour

Sample text

Many reactions of insects and others to odourc of many kinds have been recorded, and many instances are known in which invertebrates either limit T H E C O M P L E X W O R L D 49 themselves to one sort of food or show a preference lor certain kinds and decisively reject others. The difference between these selective responses and those of man and other vertebrates is expressed in the word chemotactic, implying that the organ by which the stimulus is received is sensitive to contact with particular chemical substances.

It may be described as the synechdochaic fallacy, a substitution of the part for whole, or, in simpler words, as 'the error of nothing-but'. Familiar examples are numerous : profits are a part of business, therefore business is nothing but profit-making: physical attraction exists in love, therefore love is nothing but physical attraction: and so on. In biology this sterile type of argument is too easily accepted, chiefly because there is no general and recognized theory with which to expel it.

The external changes which stir an invertebrate into action are often of much greater significance to the animal than they are to a vertebrate which experiences the same stimuli. A satisfactory exposition of this difference must play an important part in the establishing of the underlying text of this book— namely, the autonomous nature of invertebrate behaviour—so that it is essential at this point to select a representative group of THE COMPLEX 41 WORLD familiar sources of stimuli and to show how characteristic are the responses of invertebrates and how different from the responses of human beings and other vertebrates.

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