Simulated evolution of selfish herd behavior

Timothy C. Reluga, Steven Viscido

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Single species aggregations are a commonly observed phenomenon. One potential explanation for these aggregations is provided by the selfish herd hypothesis, which states that aggregations result from individual efforts to reduce personnel predation risk at the expense of group-mates. Not all movement rules based on the selfish herd hypothesis are consistent with observed animal behavior. Previous work has shown that herd-like aggregations are not generated by movement rules limited to local interactions between nearest neighbors. Instead, rules generating realistic herds appear to require delocalized interactions. To date, it has been an open question whether or not the necessary delocalization can emerge from local interactions under natural selection. To address this question, we study an individual-based model with a single quantitative genetic trait that controls the influence of neighbors as a function of distance. The results indicate that predation-based selection can increase the influence of distant neighbors relative to near neighbors. Our results lend support for the idea that selfish herd behavior can arise from localized movement rules under natural selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 21 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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