Animals working together?
October 12, 2011 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find examples of animals or creatures of different types that work together toward a shared goal. I'm trying to use it to illustrate the principle that a group working together can succeed more quickly or get farther than individuals working alone.

Anything that leans more toward animals, insects, etc. building something or achieving something would be best (rather than symbiotic relationships of a host-parasite nature).
posted by slo to Pets & Animals (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Melismata at 2:27 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ants, lions, dolphins.
posted by roofus at 2:37 PM on October 12, 2011

The Honeyguide Bird and the Honey Badger (SLYT)

The Honeyguide leads the Honey Badger to bee colonies. Once the badger opens the hive, the bird is able to feast on the remaining wax and larvae.
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 2:38 PM on October 12, 2011

The question is about animals/creatures of different species which work together.

Coyotes and badgers hunt together.
posted by iconomy at 2:38 PM on October 12, 2011

Ants - here's a article about it, and here a youtube video about a gigantic ant colony.
posted by miorita at 2:39 PM on October 12, 2011

Richard Scarry's books are all about animals of different species working together and creating a full civilization. The book "What Do People Do All Day" is full of great examples of animals doing jobs that rely upon each other, and "A Day At The Fire Station" approaches it on a smaller level (just the animals working together in a fire station, rather than in the larger civilization).
posted by Greg Nog at 2:44 PM on October 12, 2011

The Brothers Grimm story of The Town Musicians of Bremen would seem to qualify.
posted by Right On Red at 3:01 PM on October 12, 2011

This is called Mutualism and that wiki page has plenty of examples as does this one.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:06 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Sesame Street skit with the blue (?) guys with long, stiff arms could not get the fruit into their mouths. The blue guys with the shorter arms could put the fruit in their mouths, but could not get the fruit from up in the tree. Together they solved their problems!
(Could not find link.)
posted by Glinn at 3:06 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Geese. Several years ago there was a motivational brochure that described how geese work together in their V formation to cut down on the air drag for the group. It noted how leaders trade off since they are breaking the most air in the V. I do not remember the name of the brochure but a little research into geese V's should mention this.
posted by KneeDeep at 3:26 PM on October 12, 2011

Not sure if this is too symbiotic for you but the Portuguese Man O' War is a colonial organism made up of specialized animals that can't survive alone.
posted by Morrigan at 4:23 PM on October 12, 2011

Large cats hunt cooperatively to bring down bigger game than any one cat could.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:06 PM on October 12, 2011

When you hunt rats or rabbits, you use dogs and ferrets; the ferrets go down the holes and drive the prey out, and the dogs catch and kill them.
posted by The otter lady at 5:27 PM on October 12, 2011

ants and aphids
posted by SomeTrickPony at 5:33 PM on October 12, 2011

I'm not sure if this fits your parameters or not, but some birds forage in mixed-species flocks.
posted by pemberkins at 7:21 PM on October 12, 2011

To expand on KneeDeep's response, over here we often witness Snow Geese and Canadian Geese helping each other out during migration despite being different birds. I think the wikipedia article on the Snow Geese says that they avoid the Canadian Geese because the latter are bigger but you only need to look in a field or the sky around this time of the year here in Qu├ębec and you'll see it's bollocks. (then again, I'm not a ornithologist, but still)

As you may know a few geese will often escort a wounded/sick/tired/unwell individual while the rest of the flock goes on. They take some rest for a while until all ready to get back to the migration (or leaving the doomed animal behind if it's hopeless). We often see such a small group join a larger one of the other species and share the food sources and group safety, then even join the flight formation to share the aerodynamics.

It's very easy to spot when an inter-species addition happens since Canadian Geese make an uniform dark shape and Snow a striking white-with-black-tipped-wings one.

I'm sure there might be bickering if two large groups compete for the same field or something but as far as my experience goes, the different type of geese will often mingle and cooperate during migration time.
posted by CelebrenIthil at 7:29 PM on October 12, 2011

Here's a link to the skit that Glinn mentioned.
posted by southern_sky at 8:02 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Can I send them my better resume?   |   Where can I post flyers for my computer business ?... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.