Navigation Links
Spotted hyenas can increase survival rates by hunting alone

EAST LANSING, Mich. Recent research by Michigan State University doctoral student Jennifer Smith has shed new light on the way spotted hyenas live together and more importantly hunt for their food alone.

In a paper recently published in the journal Animal Behaviour, Smith, a student in MSU's Department of Zoology, shows that while spotted hyenas know the value of living together in large, cooperative societies, they also realize that venturing on their own now and then to hunt for food is often the key to their survival.

"Although spotted hyenas do cooperatively hunt, there is a large cost for doing that," said Smith, who did her research at the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. "This cost is feeding competition within their own group."

The problem is that spotted hyenas live in a social group, they all know each other and there is a well-established hierarchy. So when a kill is made, it is the spotted hyenas that are higher up on the totem pole that get to eat.

Smith and colleagues report that spotted hyenas do join forces to protect themselves from danger. They aggregate to defend their food from their natural enemy the lion, and cooperate during turf battles with neighboring hyenas. And, it is easier for spotted hyenas to catch prey when they do so in teams.

"Although spotted hyenas are 20 percent more likely to capture prey with one or more members of their social group, cooperative hunting results in multiple new competitors showing up because former allies quickly turn into noisy competitors once the kill is made," she said. "So it's the individual, especially if he or she is low in the hierarchy, that suffers a cost for having group members at that prey."

It is known that more than a million years ago spotted hyenas were solitary scavengers. "My research," said Smith, "shows because there is this cost of competition, that spotted hyenas retained this ability to remove themselves from the larger social group to hunt."

Scientifically speaking, this is known as fission-fusion dynamics members of the same society repeatedly splitting up from the group (fission) and then reuniting (fusion).

"Human societies exhibit fission-fusion dynamics," Smith said. "For example, we repeatedly depart from our loved ones in the morning and then rejoin them in the evening."

Spotted hyenas, like humans, frequently leave one another but rejoin on a regular basis to maintain social relationships, especially with family members.


Contact: Tom Oswald
Michigan State University

Related biology news :

1. Baiji Dolphin previously thought extinct spotted in the Yangtze River
2. Study shows increased education on nanotech, human enhancement increases public concerns
3. Researchers discover link between organ transplantation and increased cancer risk
4. Consumption of nut products during pregnancy linked to increased asthma in children
5. IVF does not increase risk of developmental disorders in children
6. CO2 increase in the atmosphere augments tolerance of barley to salinity
7. Sleep restriction results in increased consumption of energy from snacks
8. RAND study finds increase in piracy and terrorism at sea
9. Organic corn: Increasing rotation complexity increases yields
10. Genetic mutation associated with increased risk of lung cancer
11. Disabling mouse enzyme increases fertility
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... a partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile security ... (Logo: ) The ... enhanced security to access and transact across channels. ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 20, 2016 The new GEZE ... compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. ... or the door interface with integration authorization management system, ... systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control and ... building installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market ... 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. Gait ... which can be used to compute factors that ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome ... in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The ... to advance its drug development efforts, as well as ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner to ... traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... In a new case report published today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, doctors ... being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of stem cells derived from ... frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema refers to the swelling ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 ... 2016;12(1):22-8 Published recently ... peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz ... of cancer care is placing an increasing burden ... expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on many ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® ... provides a free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root ... CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: