is the behavior predators
exhibit when they kill more prey than they can immediately use. They may partially consume, cache, or abandon intact prey. This behavior has been observed in zooplankton
, damselfly naiads
, predaceous mites
, red foxes
, spotted hyenas
, brown bear
, and mink
The term was invented by Dutch biologist Hans Kruuk after studying spotted hyenas in Africa and red foxes in England.
It is likely that this is a survival mechanism; the selection for aggressiveness toward prey being an evolutionary development toward becoming a more successful hunter.
Most cases of surplus killing occur when the prey is disadvantaged in some fashion, under those conditions, the predator's energy expenditure and risk are low.
- Jennifer L. Maupin and Susan Reichert, Superfluous killing in spiders.
- Joseph K. Gaydos, Stephen Raverty,Robin W. Baird, and Richard W. Osborne, SUSPECTED SURPLUS KILLING OF HARBOR SEAL PUPS (PHOCA VITULINA) BY KILLER WHALES (ORCINUS ORCA).
- William G. George and Timothy Kimmel, A Slaughter of Mice by Common Crows.
- Wolf Trust, Wolf Depredation-Surplus Killing'.
- Wildlife Online: Foxes-Surplus Killing, Why do foxes kill to excess....
- For Wolves: Ralph Maughan Wolf Report, Jackson Trio makes some surplus kills.
- High Country News, Zachary Smith, Wolf pack wiped out for ‘surplus killing’.
- Victor Van Ballenberghe, Technical Information on Wolf Ecology and Wolf/Prey Relationships.
- Ned Rozell, Far North Grizzlies Develop Taste for Muskoxen.
- Pierre-Yves Daoust, Andrew Boyne, Ted D’Eon, Surplus killing of Roseate Terns and Common Terns by a mink.
- RayDerPhan, Killer whales hunting young seals (video).