Gregarious behaviour of evasive prey

Ilan Eshel, Emilia Sansone, Avner Shaked

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gregarious behavior of potential prey was explained by Hamilton (1971) on the basis of risk-sharing: The probability of being picked up by a predator is small when one makes part of a large aggregate of prey. This argument holds only if the predator chooses its victims at random. It is not the case for herds of evasive prey in the open, where prey's gregarious behavior, favorable for the fast group members, makes it easier for the predator to home in on the slowest ones. We show conditions under which gregarious behavior of the relatively fast prey individuals leaves slowest prey with no other choice but to join the group. Failing to do so would signal their vulnerability, making them a preferred target for the predator. Analysis of an n + 1 player game of a predator and n unequal prey individuals clarifies conditions for fully gregarious, partially gregarious, or solitary behavior of the prey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-612
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Evasive herd
  • Gregarious behavior
  • Herd
  • N-person Game
  • Prey predator Game
  • Selfish herd


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