Solitaire (zoology)

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In zoology, living things that live individually or alone are called solitary . In biology, the counterpart to solitary is gregarious or sociable. The term solitary is used in different contexts:

  • In the simplest case, these are animal species that are not sociable and, with the exception of individual time phases such as the mating season, do not tolerate any conspecifics in their immediate vicinity. These solitary animals do not maintain any relationships with conspecifics outside of the breeding season. Exceptions are possible from time to time, for example due to special circumstances such as food or breeding sites.
  • Especially with insects, especially hymenoptera , the solitary way of life represents a contrast to state-forming, social and swarm-forming species. There are, for example, solitary wasps and social wasps ( real wasps and field wasps ). Many wild bees do not found colonies, but live alone or only to a limited extent together. Migratory locusts occur in a solitary form, but can cause great damage as migrating swarms (gregarious phase).
  • In the case of sessile , i.e. fixed, animal species, a distinction is made between solitary and colony-forming species. Many sessile nettles and tunicates can occur as solitary animals or in colonies. Most cupworms do not form colonies, but live solitary.

Individual evidence

  1. Duden online: solitary
  2. Sabine Begall : Behavioral ecological and genetic analyzes of the social and population structure of Coruros (Spalacopus cyanus, Octodontidae, Rodentia) from Chile , page 12 (example, text, PDF )