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Wolf-pack (Canis lupus) hunting strategies
emerge from simple rules in computational simulations

Cristina Muro1, Ramón Escobedo1,2, Lee Spector3,4 and Raymond Coppinger4

1Assistance Dogs Association AEPA-Euskadi, Bilbao, Spain
2Dept. of Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
3Dept. of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA 01003, United States
4School of Cognitive Science, Hampshire College, Amherst MA 01002, United States

muro.cristina@gmail.com

Behavioural Processes 88 (2011) 182-197
∗ ∗ ∗ 8th most downloaded Behavioural Processes article, last 90 days (08 Febr 2012) ∗ ∗ ∗

A simple mathematical model is used to simulate the behavioural patterns
that wolf-groups (packs) exhibit during the hunt of a single and larger prey.

-- see movies below :: clic on the picture for a larger image --


Two simple rules for the individual behaviour of each wolf can reproduce the hunting behavioural patterns of the pack:
  1. Move towards the prey until a critical distance is reached.        
  2. When close enough to the prey, move away from other wolves.
The prey is represented by a large yellow circle, and the N wolves by smaller circles of different colors.
Three kinds of prey movement are considered: stationary, describing circles, and escaping from wolves.

1. A stationary prey:

1.1   N = 2

 
1.2   N = 3

         
1.3   N = 4

 
1.4   N = 4

1.5   N = 5

 
1.6   N = 5

         
1.7   N = 9

 
1.8   N = 9

2. A moving prey describing a circle, at a decreasing speed and changing direction abruptly:

2.1   N = 2

 
2.2   N = 3

 
2.3   N = 7

3. A moving prey escaping from wolves (captured if N > 4):

3.1   N = 2

 
3.2   N = 3

 
3.3   N = 4

3.4   N = 5

 
3.5   N = 6

 
3.6   N = 8


Two main conclusions can be derived from these simulations:

  • No hierarchy is needed in the social structure of the wolf pack,

  • No communication between wolves is needed.

Note that he model tries to simulate the movement of the wolf-pack, not the behaviour of the prey.


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