Life Cycle Sleuth
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Background
Migration is a risky business. Animals face countless challenges and risk their lives when they migrate. So why do they do it? Select one of the Journey North species. Try to find the answer to each of the questions below. Notice that all of the questions relate to survival, either of the individual animal or its offspring. By carefully exploring what an animal needs in order to stay alive — or in order to reproduce so its young can live — you can discover how migration relates to survival. You may also be able to predict when your animal will take its journey.

Distribution/Range
___ Where is your animal found in the winter months? In the summer months?
___ Describe its habitat on its wintering grounds.
___ Describe its habitat on its summering grounds.
___ If the habitat is different, in what ways is it different?
___ How much do temperatures change during the year on the animal?s wintering grounds?
___ How much do temperatures change during the year on the animals? summering grounds?
___ Are there large areas where each kind of habitat is available in the north?
___ Are there large areas where each kind of habitat is available south of the U.S.-Mexican border?
___ Compare the amount of habitat available north and south of the border
___ Does this animal follow the same migration patterns (timing and route) every year?
___ Do virtually all the individuals of this species migrate?


Food
___ What does this animal eat? (What is its prey?)
___ How does this animal get its food? (What are its methods of feeding or hunting?)
___ What physical adaptations does this animal have for obtaining its food?
___ What behavioral adaptations does this animal have for obtaining its food?
___ How might cold weather affect this animal?s ability to obtain food?
___ What does its prey eat? If its prey is plants, what do these plants require?
___ What preys on it?
___ Draw a food chain showing your animal?s place(s) on it.
___ Which links on this food chain are affected by cold weather? Freezing temperatures?
___ What links on this food chain are affected by increasing photoperiod?


Physiology
___ How would cold weather affect this animal?
___ How would freezing temperatures affect it?
___ How would hot temperatures affect it?
___ How would drought affect it?
___ How would temperatures affect the amount of food this animal needs?


Reproduction
___ How does this animal select a mate?
___ When does this animal mate?
___ Where does this animal mate?
___ Does this animal need special habitat, food, or temperatures to mate?
___ When are its young born or hatched?
___ Where are its young born or hatched?
___ Do the young need special habitat or temperatures in order to survive?
___ What do the young eat? Is this different from their parents? diet?
___ What quantities of food do the parents need in order to feed their offspring?
___ How long does this animal live?
___ Do all age groups (young and old) migrate?


Conclusion

  • Why do you think your animal migrates?
  • When do you predict it will migrate? Why?

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