Social Predation

Social Predation

How Group Living Benefits Predators and Prey

1st Edition - December 7, 2013

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  • Author: Guy Beauchamp
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124076549
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124072282

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The classic literature on predation dealt almost exclusively with solitary predators and their prey. Going back to Lotka-Volterra and optimal foraging theory, the theory about predation, including predator-prey population dynamics, was developed for solitary species. Various consequences of sociality for predators have been considered only recently. Similarly, while it was long recognized that prey species can benefit from living in groups, research on the adaptive value of sociality for prey species mostly emerged in the 1970s. The main theme of this book is the various ways that predators and prey may benefit from living in groups. The first part focusses on predators and explores how group membership influences predation success rate, from searching to subduing prey. The second part focusses on how prey in groups can detect and escape predators. The final section explores group size and composition and how individuals respond over evolutionary times to the challenges posed by chasing or being chased by animals in groups. This book will help the reader understand current issues in social predation theory and provide a synthesis of the literature across a broad range of animal taxa.

Key Features

  • Includes the whole taxonomical range rather than limiting it to a select few
  • Features in-depth analysis that allows a better understanding of many subtleties surrounding the issues related to social predation
  • Presents both models and empirical results while covering the extensive predator and prey literature
  • Contains extensive illustrations and separate boxes that cover more technical features, i.e., to present models and review results


Researchers in animal behavior, ethology; evolutionary, behavioral and ecological biology and ecology; as well as advanced UG/graduate students and professors in these areas

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    Part A: Predators

    Chapter 1. Finding and Exploiting Food in Groups


    1.1 Introduction

    1.2 Benefits of Group Foraging

    1.3 Costs of Group Foraging

    1.4 Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 2. Producing and Scrounging


    2.1 Introduction

    2.2 Definition

    2.3 The Basic Producing and Scrounging Model

    2.4 New Theoretical Developments

    2.5 Empirical Evidence

    2.6 Concluding Remarks

    Part B: Prey

    Chapter 3. Antipredator Ploys


    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Antipredator Ploys

    3.3 Are Antipredator Ploys Effective?

    3.4 Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 4. Antipredator Vigilance: Theory and Testing the Assumptions


    4.1 Introduction

    4.2 What Vigilance Is and How It Is Measured

    4.3 Theoretical Background

    4.4 Validity of the Assumptions

    4.5 Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 5. Antipredator Vigilance: Detection and the Group-Size Effect


    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Increased Detection in Groups

    5.3 Decreased Vigilance in Larger Groups

    5.4 Vigilance When Predation Risk Is Negligible

    5.5 Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 6. The Selfish Herd


    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 New Theoretical Developments

    6.3 Empirical Evidence

    6.4 Concluding Remarks

    Part C: General Considerations

    Chapter 7. Group Size and Composition


    7.1 Introduction

    7.2 Optimal Group Size

    7.3 Group Composition

    7.4 Proximate Mechanisms

    7.5 Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 8. Mixed-Species Groups


    8.1 Introduction

    8.2 What Is a Mixed-Species Group?

    8.3 The Formation of Mixed-Species Groups

    8.4 Large-Scale Synthesis in Avian Flocks

    8.5 Evolution of Traits Associated with Mixed-Species Groups

    8.6 Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 9. Evolutionary Issues


    9.1 Introduction

    9.2 Co-Evolution between Predators and Prey

    9.3 Evolution of Social Predation

    9.4 Concluding Remarks


    What Have We Learned?

    Where Do We Go from Here?



    Predators and Prey

    General Issues

    Narrow Taxonomic Focus

    Narrow Explanations

    Narrow Assumptions



    Colour Plates

Product details

  • No. of pages: 336
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2014
  • Published: December 7, 2013
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124076549
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124072282

About the Author

Guy Beauchamp

Guy Beauchamp
Guy Beauchamp is a behavioural ecologist specializing on social foraging in birds. He has written over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He has been studying sandpipers for the last 10 years. He currently works as a research officer at the Veterinary College of the University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Affiliations and Expertise

Veterinary College, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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