Vol 4, Issue 1, February 2017

Coordinated Hunting by Cuban Boas


Dinets, V. (2017). Coordinated hunting by Cuban boas. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 4(1), 24–29. https://doi.org/10.12966/abc.02.02.2017


Coordinated hunting, in which individual predators relate in time and space to each other’s actions, is uncommon in animals, and is often difficult to distinguish from simply hunting in non-coordinated groups, which is much more common. The author tested if Cuban boas (Chilabothrus angulifer) hunting bats in cave passages take into account other boas’ positions when choosing hunting sites, and whether their choices increase hunting efficiency. Snakes arriving to the hunting area were significantly more likely to position themselves in the part of the passage where other snakes were already present, forming a “fence” across the passage and thus more effectively blocking the flight path of the prey, significantly increasing hunting efficiency. This is the first study to test for coordination between hunting reptiles, rather than assume such coordination based on perceived complexity of hunting behavior.