Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Adaptedness of Behavior

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_366-1



The adaptedness of behavior depends on the effects behavior has on individual fitness, i.e., how it influences survival and reproductive success. This hinges in turn on how well suited to environmental conditions the behaviors are.


Behavior is a major determinant of fitness. It influences foraging success, the ability to avoid predators, success in the competition for resources, and reproductive success. Similarly to other traits, behavior evolves through natural selection; individuals with behaviors that allow them to produce more viable offspring than other individuals pass more copies of their genes onto the next generations, and thereby also the genes for their behaviors, which then increase in frequency in the population.

Evolution consequently gradually changes the behavior of individuals so that they become better and better adapted to local environmental...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Marieke Cassia Gartner
    • 1
  1. 1.Philadelphia ZooPhiladelphiaUSA