May. 26th, 2017

ghostwings: A digitally-drawn picture of a gryphon with moth wings and antennae. (Default)
Today I found out that at least one species of snake hunts communally!

Cuban boas apparently have much better success in hunting bats when they work together (or, to steal a delightful pun from the article, they have a higher bat-ing average).

Another interseting tidbit from the article:

"Wolves hunt together for primarily social reasons—multiple studies have shown that they don’t necessarily get more food by sticking with a pack."

That goes against what I'd always thought about wolves--I'll probably try and look up some of those studies at some point.

Edit 6/4: From what I can tell, that bit about wolves is... misleadingly phrased, at best. There's a point of diminishing returns regarding pack size (where adding more wolves doesn't necessarily mean more success hunting), which makes sense, because that's how pretty much any team activity works. (Another article on the topic: Strength in numbers? For wolves, maybe not. The study referenced in the article gave the optimum pack size for hunting elk, specifically, as four wolves; with a larger pack, the amount of successful hunts "leveled off" and "individual hunting effort decreased;" in other words, individuals had to work less, which is still a definite benefit.)

The optimal amount of wolves is going to vary, based on what the wolves in a given area generally hunt; some animals are harder to catch than others. (Link to relevant study: Influence of Group Size on the Success of Wolves Hunting Bison.)

Wolves may be part of a larger group than what is necessary for optimum success for social reasons, but that's not quite what the Popular Science article seemed to be saying.

It's possible that there's some situation where a lone wolf would do just as well hunting-success-wise as a pack, but in my (admittedly brief) search I didn't turn up anything. I wish the original article would have linked some of these "multiple studies."

Another interesting bit of wolf knowledge I came across during the search, however, was that, going off of computer simulations, wolves hunting in packs don't necessarily need much communication to coordinate the hunt--they just need to know the relative position of the prey and the other wolves. (Article: Wolf hunting strategy follows simple rules.)

And now my post originally about snakes is mostly about wolves.


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August 2017


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