GREGARISM - What it is, characteristics and EXAMPLES

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The behavior of animals is one of the most curious aspects of nature, as it is something that goes far beyond what a moment can reflect. To understand each specific behavior of each species, it is necessary to know what causes it, as well as to understand how the organism of each species develops, how this behavior has evolved and how the animal benefits from it.

In addition, there are behaviors that are innate, that is, that are genetically programmed, and others that are learned, so that natural selection can shape them. If you are interested in the behavior of animals, from EcologyGreen we explain a specific typology, the gregariousness: what it is, examples and characteristics.

What is gregariousness in biology

The gregariousness It is a type of relationship established by various members of a population when they associate and work together to achieve a common goal for the benefit of all of them.

But, more specifically, what is a gregarious being? A gregarious being is defined as that individual who has a tendency to grouped together in herds, schools or colonies for animals, or in social groups, for people, or they simply need a group to feel good.

Characteristics of gregariousness

The main characteristic of this type of behavior is the need to associate and coexist with different organisms in order to obtain a common benefit. Within these groups, there is usually an egalitarian distribution of tasks or there may also be a distribution of tasks by hierarchy.

What is the goal of a gregarious association

Gregarious associations tend to be sought for different reasons, mostly common benefits. Among them, the following are distinguished:

  • FeedingGregarious animals tend to obtain higher quality food and even larger prey.
  • Defense against possible predators: defending against possible attacks is always easier when acting in a group, since, mainly, there are a greater number of individuals attentive to the presence of predators. On the other hand, a team offers greater strength.
  • Baby care: when several individuals coexist in the same group, there is usually a division of tasks, so that while there are some who are dedicated to looking for food, others focus on taking care of the offspring.
  • Adverse conditions: there are animals, such as penguins, which tend to group in mass to cope with very cold conditions to protect themselves and offer warmth to each other.

Types of gregariousness

We have already seen what gregariousness is and what are the objectives of this behavior, but what types of gregariousness are there? We can distinguish two types of gregariousness, they are the following:

  • Intraspecific relationships: when it occurs between individuals of the same species. If you want more information about what are intraspecific relationships, don't miss this other detailed article by Ecologista Verde.
  • Interspecific relationships: when it occurs between individuals of different species. You will find more detailed examples in this article on Interspecific Relationships: Types and Examples.

Examples of gregariousness

If you are looking examples of gregarious animalsYou must bear in mind that there are hundreds and even thousands of beings that can be grouped together to achieve a joint purpose. Let's see some examples:

  • Guinea pigs: Guinea pigs, for example, are known to be animals with strong gregarious behavior and high preferences for living together in a community or, at least, as a couple.
  • Parakeets: Another clear example is the parakeets, characterized by being very sociable and enthusiastic when it comes to living as a couple. Like them, surely many more examples come to mind, be they lions, sheep, rabbits, elephants or zebras.
  • Fish: in the marine world there are also numerous examples of gregarious animals. Schools of fish, for example, are a clear type of gregarious organisms, since they work as a team to avoid their prey, among other tasks.
  • BenthosAnother example, this more peculiar one, occurs in the benthos. Among the sessile benthos we find, for example, larvae that are attracted by a chemical component released by adult animals that determines if the area is suitable for a good development of the species.
  • Sponges: sponges are considered gregarious organisms too; Although there is competition for the substrate between different species when large colonies are formed, they end up joining each other, giving rise to a single large mass that, although it invites them to maintain their individuality, serves as a defense tool against predators. If you want to know more about the sea sponge: what it is and its characteristics, don't miss the article dedicated especially to this curious organism.
  • Mussels: Mussels, like sea acorns, are another example of gregarious animals in the marine world.

If you want more examples of gregarious animal typesHere is a list:

  • Ants
  • Bees
  • Wolves
  • Wildebeest
  • Flamingos
  • Dolphins
  • Gorillas
  • Horses
  • Deer
  • Killer whales
  • Lemurs
  • Giraffes
  • Rabbits
  • Elephants
  • Sheep
  • Zebras

Why is it said that the human being is gregarious

The human being is a gregarious being by natureIn other words, he tends to associate with other beings similar to him for the execution of common goals and objectives, living together and participating in the evolution and development of his group.

Since the beginning of time, human beings have required teamwork to achieve great goals. In this way civilizations were created and this is also how the human being lives today, in society. In fact, the renowned neurosurgeon Wilfred Trotter described a gregarious instinct (gregariousness) innate to the human being like that of other animal species. As a result of this coexistence between beings, the need for communication is triggered, which was initially rudimentary based on gestures and shouts and, over time, has evolved to become a complex and exclusive mode of communication for beings humans: the language.

If you want to read more articles similar to Gregariousness: what it is, examples and characteristics, we recommend that you enter our category of Animal Curiosities.

  • University of Córdova. UNIT 5. INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF BEHAVIOR. Retrieved from:
  • Khan Academy. (2022). Introduction to animal behavior. Retrieved from:
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