For animals that live in groups, are there examples where all of them have the same role? For example, in animals we know there are bee queens or alpha, beta and omega mammals. But are there groups of animals where all the members have the same role? My question is aimed at 2 different groups actually, first animals in general (which includes reptiles, insects, etc.) and second to mammals only.

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    $\begingroup$ Since you mention alpha/beta/omega, it's worth noting that with wolves, that organization only shows up in captivity. In the wild, a wolf pack is simply a breeding pair and their offspring. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Apr 21, 2017 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are many examples. Those species are said to be gregarious. See below for examples.

Level of sociality

When it comes to social behaviour, it is common to categorize species into one of four categories: Solitary, gregarious, presocial, and eusocial.

Note that definitions may vary among authors and that there are limit cases that make the question of categorizing much richer than the simple definitions I am using below.


Solitary species are species where individuals mainly live alone and are independent of each other (They may still meet to mate, though).

Examples: fox, polar bear


Gregarious species are species that gather into a group but do not share any labour. Each individual is selfish. Such gregarious behaviour can be driven by safety (typically during migration), to taxis toward a resource, or any other reason that may cause these individuals to gather!

Note, when you say "have the same role," it is clear that different individuals may use different life strategies (like typically territorial males vs. sneaker males in birds).

Examples: wildbeest (during migration), many insects attracted to a given lightsource.


Presocial species are species that are gregarious and have a separation of labour but no separation of the the reproductive labour.

Examples: Humans, many hymenopterans, vampire bats


Eusocial species are species that have a separation of labour including separation of the reproductive labour.

Examples: Termites, ants, naked mole-rat

  • $\begingroup$ Does Gregarious include species who gather in groups and share the same labours ? That's what I'm more interested to know. Like for example, all hunt for the group, all gather for the group, or all dig for the group, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Pablo
    Apr 21, 2017 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ Gregarious species do not share labours. It means that they all do the same thing (that is doing their best to survive and reproduce) although they may use different strategy (like being territorial vs a sneaker in birds). $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Apr 21, 2017 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ Creatures that 'flock' or 'school' ['shoal'] benefit from shared awareness and their movements can confuse predators. $\endgroup$
    – amI
    Apr 21, 2017 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ Insects attracted to a light source is rather an awkward example, as this is no social behaviour they benefit from. On the contrary, many die. $\endgroup$
    – RHA
    Apr 22, 2017 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ What about migrating birds (e.g. geese, crane that fly in groups) or wintering groups such as Starling or Tits. $\endgroup$
    – RHA
    Apr 22, 2017 at 12:12

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