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Proto-cooperation: group hunting sailfish improve hunting success by alternating attacks on grouping prey
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Uppsala University, Sweden.
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Number of Authors: 112016 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 283, no 1842, article id 20161671Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present evidence of a novel form of group hunting. Individual sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) alternate attacks with other group members on their schooling prey (Sardinella aurita). While only 24% of attacks result in prey capture, multiple prey are injured in 95% of attacks, resulting in an increase of injured fish in the school with the number of attacks. How quickly prey are captured is positively correlated with the level of injury of the school, suggesting that hunters can benefit from other conspecifics' attacks on the prey. To explore this, we built a mathematical model capturing the dynamics of the hunt. We show that group hunting provides major efficiency gains (prey caught per unit time) for individuals in groups of up to 70 members. We also demonstrate that a free riding strategy, where some individuals wait until the prey are sufficiently injured before attacking, is only beneficial if the cost of attacking is high, and only then when waiting times are short. Our findings provide evidence that cooperative benefits can be realized through the facilitative effects of individuals' hunting actions without spatial coordination of attacks. Such 'proto-cooperation' may be the pre-cursor to more complex group-hunting strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 283, no 1842, article id 20161671
Keywords [en]
group hunting, sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, cooperation, proto-cooperation
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137725DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1671ISI: 000388718700009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-137725DiVA, id: diva2:1066112
Available from: 2017-01-17 Created: 2017-01-10 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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