Zebra and wildebeest symbiotic relationship

Symbiotic Relationships - The Ostrich

zebra and wildebeest symbiotic relationship

No, together with the approximately 2 million wildebeest are thousands of zebras and gazelles forming one super herd. Zebra are often found. Every year, thousands of wildebeest and zebra migrate across East Africa. Learn why the two species are natural travel companions. One reason is that Zebras love to eat the taller grass and Wildebeest the shorter grass – it's a kind of symbiosis. There is no competition.

The Wildebeest Migration Explained

The following is a short, easy to read explanation of the greatest show on earth. Where does the migration take place?

These parks are one continuous ecosystem divided by an invisible man-made border. Is it only Wildebeest which migrate?

No, together with the approximately 2 million wildebeest are thousands of zebras and gazelles forming one super herd. Zebra are often found together with wildebeest as the zebra tend to feed on long tough grass stems preparing them for the broad muzzle of the wildebeest, more suited to close short grasses. Contrary to popular belief, lions and other carnivores do not migrate with the grazing animals but feast on them when their paths cross.

Why do the animals migrate? What the animals are in essence doing is following the rains in search of lush new grass.

Taking advantage of the strongly seasonal conditions, the wildebeest are spending the wet season on the plains in the south-east, and the dry season in the woodlands of the north-west.

zebra and wildebeest symbiotic relationship

The animals themselves, however, play a role in shaping their environment to their needs just by the sheer weight of their numbers. The km pilgrimage is an ongoing cycle of movement and dispersal that is not continually in forward motion. The wildebeest need to drink daily and their movement is very much dominated by the accessibility of water and they seem to have a sixth sense in following the storms.

zebra and wildebeest symbiotic relationship

This epic journey has no real beginning or end. The River Crossings The famous spectacle of the crossing at the Grumeti and Mara Rivers has been well documented by film makers and photographers.

Forced on by the power of the herd the wildebeest have no choice but to take a suicidal plunge into the crocodile infested waters often drowning in their thousands. How can I witness the Migration? There is no real right or wrong time to visit East Africa see the migration as each season offers its own highlights.

zebra and wildebeest symbiotic relationship

It is, however, important to be in the right area at the right time of year. Vanak Find articles by Abi T. Ogden Find articles by Monika B.

Collected the primary data: Contributed funding, supervisory support, and edited the paper: Received Jun 30; Accepted Aug Copyright Thaker et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly credited.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Background Group dynamics of gregarious ungulates in the grasslands of the African savanna have been well studied, but the trade-offs that affect grouping of these ungulates in woodland habitats or dense vegetation are less well understood.

We examined the landscape-level distribution of groups of blue wildebeest, Connochaetes taurinus, and Burchell's zebra, Equus burchelli, in a predominantly woodland area Karongwe Game Reserve, South Africa; KGR to test the hypothesis that group dynamics are a function of minimizing predation risk from their primary predator, lion, Panthera leo.

We found that only in open scrub habitat, group size for both ungulate species increased with the probability of encountering lion.

Group composition differed between the two species and was driven by habitat selection as well as predation risk. For both species, composition of groups was, however, dominated by males in open scrub habitats, irrespective of the probability of encountering lion. Group composition reflected species-specific social, physiological and foraging constraints, as well as the importance of predation risk.

Avoidance of high resource open scrub habitat by females can lead to loss of foraging opportunities, which can be particularly costly in areas such as KGR, where this resource is limited.

Thus, landscape-level grouping dynamics are species specific and particular to the composition of the group, arising from a tradeoff between maximizing resource selection and minimizing predation risk.

Botswana Safaris | Interspecies Relationships | Botswana Wildlife Guide

Introduction Group formation is common in animals [1]but the size and composition of groups are temporally and spatially dynamic, and depend on the relative costs and benefits of grouping. Individuals in larger groups benefit from collective vigilance, cooperative defense, and dilution and confusion effects which can reduce predation risk [1].

Symbiosis in the Savanna

Groups also gain benefits for resource acquisition [2] via information about environmental quality gained through social foraging [3][4]. These benefits of grouping are weighed against the costs of sharing food [5][6]and of increased probability of being detected by predators [7]. Often, the antipredator benefits of grouping may outweigh resource acquisition and social benefits [1]. Given these trade-offs, groups should vary in size and composition, and be non-uniform in their distribution across the landscape [8].

Environmental characteristics that affect the cost-benefit trade-off of grouping vary in space and time. Thus, in species where grouping is an antipredator strategy, group size and membership should depend on key factors such as the level of predation risk, habitat conditions and season.

For example, forming larger groups may be more effective against stalking predators than ambush predators, especially since stalking predators often target individual prey [9] or smaller groups [10]. Furthermore, larger groups should be favored in open habitats to counteract the unavoidable danger of being detected by predators [7]while smaller groups can reduce their probability of being detected in forested habitats [11].

Predation risk also changes with season and breeding status [12].