Questions for Germs explain some animal behaviors


Before reading

1.    Describe three ways that non-human animals might communicate with each other.

2.    People have lots to say to each other. What might one animal want to communicate to another? Describe three things an animal might want to tell another member of its own or a different species.

During reading

1.    What is “hyena butter”?

2.    What produces the odor in a hyena’s paste?

3.    Name two ways that bacteria living on and in a person can be beneficial.

4.    How does Kevin Theis figure out the different recipes of each hyena’s paste?

5.    How do Vibrio fischeri bacteria help bobtail squid?

6.    Describe two ways that bobtail squid control the glow of Vibrio fischeri bacteria.

7.    Why did Elaine Hsiao feed mice applesauce laced with a human gut bacterium called Bacteroides fragilis?

8.    What are Elaine Hsiao’s two theories for how bacteria might affect the behavior of a mouse?

After reading

1.    How might bacteria affect the way that your pet dog or cat communicates?

2.    Why can’t scientists say for certain whether or not bacteria play a role in autism?


Why is it important for scientists to learn how bacteria affect behavior?