Quarterly (winter, spring, summer, fall)
128 pp. per issue
7 x 10, illustrated
2014 Impact factor:

Artificial Life

Summer 2014, Vol. 20, No. 3, Pages 343-359
(doi: 10.1162/ARTL_a_00135)
@ 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Simulated Predator Attacks on Flocks: A Comparison of Tactics
Article PDF (1.88 MB)

It is not exactly known why birds aggregate in coordinated flocks. The most common hypothesis proposes that the reason is protection from predators. Most of the currently developed examples of individual-based predator-prey models assume predators are attracted to the center of a highly coordinated flock. This proposed attraction of a predator to a flock would appear to be contradictory to an alternate hypothesis that flocks evolved as a protection against predation. In an attempt to resolve this apparent conflict, in this article we use a fuzzy individual-based model to study three attack tactics (attack center, attack nearest, attack isolated) and analyze the success of predation on two types of prey (social and individualistic). Our simulations revealed that social flocking (as opposed to individualistic behavior) is the optimal anti-predatory response to predators attacking mainly isolated individuals.