Princeton University researchers designed a “video game” for predatory fish that demonstrated that collective motion in animal groups might have evolved as a finely tuned defense against attack from predators. The researchers projected simulated prey onto one side of a tank containing bluegill sunfish. The bluegills were most likely to attack isolated prey (clip 1) and groups that did not move much (clip 2). Simulated prey that formed coordinated and mobile groups were less prone to attack, showing that group formation itself can dissuade a predator.
Credit: Princeton University and Science/AAAS