Login

Behavioral Isolation: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: B.F. Skinner's Theories: Overview

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What Is Behavioral Isolation?
  • 1:05 Examples of Behavioral…
  • 2:34 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Friedl

Sarah has two Master's, one in Zoology and one in GIS, a Bachelor's in Biology, and has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

What prevents closely related species from reproducing? Behavioral isolation is an important evolutionary mechanism that helps members of the same species identify each other as proper mates.

What is Behavioral Isolation?

Of course, you would not expect very dissimilar species, like birds and fish to mate, but sometimes even very closely related species do not mate either. This is due to reproductive barriers, which are biological features of organisms that prevent species from reproducing and having offspring.

Two types of reproductive barriers exist: prezygotic barriers, which are those that prevent mating from even occurring, and postzygotic barriers, which are those that reduce the likelihood that an offspring will survive after mating has occurred.

One prezygotic reproductive barrier is behavioral isolation. Like the name implies, this is a reproductive barrier based on behavior, usually in the form of mating rituals and signals. Signals that attract mates to each other may be one of the most important factors in determining whether closely related species mate with each other or not.

Examples of Behavioral Isolation

We can see many examples of behavioral isolation in nature. For example, male fireflies of a variety of species signal to their female counterparts by flashing their lights in specific patterns. Females will only respond to the signals flashed by their own species, preventing them from mating with other closely related firefly species.

Many species have very elaborate courtship rituals to help indicate to each other that they are the correct ones to mate with. An example of this is the blue-footed booby. Male boobies perform a very elaborate dance that shows off his bright blue feet. This helps identify him to female boobies as a potential mate.

Visual signals are not the only ones that create behavioral barriers. Frog calls are very unique to each species in both pitch and pattern. These specific vocalizations create reproductive barriers for frogs that are not of the same species.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support