Habit (biology)

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A willow tree
The red mangrove gets extra air through pores in its roots
Fungi (ascomycetes) growing. Each petri dish is a culture of one organism and is free of all other organisms

Habit in biology is about the shape or behaviour of animals and plants.

Botany[change | change source]

The way plants grow makes their shape of habit. This is the way we can tell trees apart even at a distance. The shape of a willow tree or a poplar is very distinct. It is made during growth. Bacteria and fungi also have very distinct types of growth.

Trees are also examples of a life style when compared to shrubs and annual plants. To be a tree is to occupy a different space in the ecosystem from shrubs or climbers.

Zoology[change | change source]

In zoology, habit often refers to a specific behaviour of a species. For example:

  • ...the [cat] was in the habit of springing upon the [door knocker] in order to gain admission...[1]
  • The spider monkey has an arboreal habit and rarely ventures onto the forest floor.
  • The brittlestar has the habit of breaking off arms as a means of defence.

The 'mode of life' (or 'lifestyle') is sometimes referred to as the 'habit of an animal. Terms like motile or sessile, sedentary, free-living, parasitic, saprophyte, terrestrial, arboreal, aquatic, pelagic, diurnal, nocturnal, are all modes of life or habits.

References[change | change source]

  1. William Chambers; Robert Chambers (1835). Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. W. Orr. pp. 69–. http://books.google.com/books?id=UnUOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA69.