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The Touch Response

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Areas of Science
Time Required
Short (2-5 days)
Material Availability
Readily available
Very Low (under $20)
Avoid applying too much pressure and harming an animal when performing the touch test.
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All animals need to respond to changes in their immediate environment. The sensory structures of animals are each made to respond to distinct types of sensory stimuli: touch, taste, sound, light and smell. How are these stimuli received? Different animals have different strategies for receiving stimuli and develop specialized structures for doing so. Antennae, ears, noses, tongues, eyes, eye spots, hairs and bristles are all examples of sensory structures used by different animals to sense their environment. You can do several experiments to test how different animals use sensory structures and the sensitivity of different structures. In humans the skin is the largest organ, and also the largest sensory structure with nerves that sense touch stimuli. Try a touch test using a toothpick on different parts of the skin. Do all parts of the body sense touch in the same way, or with the same sensitivity? Do other animals have differences in touch sensitivity? Try a touch test at the anterior (front) and posterior (rear) end of a caterpillar or worm. Do both ends have the same response? How about more specialized animal structures, such as legs, wings or antennae? You can perform a touch test on different parts of an insect to measure the sensitivity of the touch response in different sensory structures. Does stimulating the touch response lead to a change in behavior? (Dashefsky, 1995, 30-32)


Dashefsky, H.S. 1995. Zoology: 49 Science Fair Projects. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "The Touch Response." Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Zoo_p040/zoology/the-touch-response?from=Blog. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). The Touch Response. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Zoo_p040/zoology/the-touch-response?from=Blog

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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