Animales sociales

Animales sociales

¿Existe el espíritu de grupo entre ellos?

La supervivencia del mayor número de especies animales depende casi siempre de la posibilidad de formar grupos. La vida colectiva, de hecho, asegura por un lado una recíproca protección entre los adultos, y por otro, la continuidad de la especie con una atenta protección de las crías.

¿Cuál es la base para una sociedad?

En los mamíferos, la base es la familia, y entre los insectos, la vida social parte de una precisa división del trabajo. La familia es necesaria para el crecimiento de las crías, necesitadas de cuidados. En los insectos, sin embargo, es la cantidad de individuos que colaboran en diversas actividades lo que hace posible la supervivencia.

¿Existen animales solitarios?

Sí. Por ejemplo la mantis es un insecto tan agresivo que no tolera la proximidad de sus congéneres.

¿Cómo viven los elefantes?

El vínculo más estrecho entre estos animales se establece entre la madre y su cría. Después de una gestación de casi dos años, la cría del elefante necesita durante mucho tiempo cuidados y protección. Ya sea en los desplazamientos o durante las paradas, el grupo está siempre atento a mantener en el interior a las crías, que se agarran a sus respectivas madres. Los machos preceden y siguen al grupo. En caso de peligro, son los machos los que dan la alarma, pero serán sobre todo las hembras las que defenderán la integridad de las crías.

¿Cómo viven los pingüinos?

Después de nacer las crías, cuyos huevos han sido empollados alternativamente por el macho y por la hembra, se reúnen en sociedad, creciendo de esta manera junto a las crías de los otros adultos y acudiendo indistinta e independientemente a la familia de origen. Esto permite, tratándose de animales muy indefenso, salvar a los pequeños en caso de muerte de los progenitores. Los pingüinos pueden formar colonias de millares de ejemplares.


¿Qué significado tiene «espulgarse» entre los monos?

Aparte del lado higiénico de la operación que elimina los parásitos, esto es una «señal» que indica la posición social que ocupa cada miembro del grupo. Los individuos de rango inferior trabajan asiduamente a beneficio de aquellos de rango superior. Los pequeños aprenden pronto la férrea ley de la jerarquía. En la ilustración, el simio más importante es el primero por la izquierda. La importancia social va disminuyendo hacia la derecha, donde vemos a un mono que no tiene a nadie que lo espulgue.

¿Qué insectos viven en sociedad?

Las hormigas, abejas, avispas y termitas son las especies más organizadas, que viven en colonias, con clases sociales bien diferenciadas según sus trabajos. Existen los obreros (se encargan de la búsqueda de alimento y de la alimentación de la reina), los soldados (se encargan de la defensa), y la reina (se encarga de la reproducción). Esta organización resulta claramente observable en las colonias de abejas.

Entre insectos, ¿cuál es la sociedad más antigua?

Es, sin duda, la de las termitas. Pero en este caso, más «antiguo» no significa primitivo o particularmente simple. De hecho, basta pensar en la complejidad del termitero. Es verdaderamente una ciudad laberinto que puede alcanzar, como en algunas regiones tropicales, en la parte que emerge del suelo, una altura superior a 5 metros. Mientras los hormigueros están llenos de obreros que entran y salen de la abertura, en los termiteros no se ve una sola termita y tampoco un agujero de entrada: las galerías y los corredores de acceso están generalmente bajo el terreno, escondidos entre las raíces de un árbol o bajo las piedras. Como las abejas y las hormigas, también las termitas encargan la tarea de la reproducción  a la reina, la cual está protegida y alimentada por las jóvenes termitas.

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