Mobbing in animals: a thorough review and proposed future directions

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Nora V Carlson, Michael Griesser


Mobbing is an important anti-predator behavior where prey harass and attack a predator to lower the immediate and long-term risk posed by predators, warn others, and communicate about the predator’s threat. While this behavior has been of interest to humans since antiquity, and aspects of it have been well researched for the past 50 years, we still know little about its ecology and the evolutionary pressures that gave rise to this ubiquitous anti- predator behavior. In this review, we explore what mobbing is, how it is used, what its functions are thought to be, its use as a proxy for cognition, before providing suggestions for specific future avenues of research necessary to improve our understanding of mobbing in its ecological and evolutionary context.



Animal Sciences, Animal Studies, Behavior and Ethology, Biology, Communication, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences


anti-predator behaviors, Birds, fish, insects, Mammals, mobbing, reptiles, review


Published: 2021-10-26 12:48

Last Updated: 2022-02-13 20:56

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CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

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Data and Code Availability Statement:
There are no actual data, though upon publication the table put together by the authors will be available as supplementary information.