Animal Behavior

Behavioral Ecology

What is meant by the “alpha male” with animals?

In animal groups with multiple individuals, those at the top of the dominance hierarchy are designated as the alpha male (and alpha female); next in line would be the beta individuals. Alpha individuals control the behavior of the other animals and may be the only individuals that mate within the group. They may also be the decision makers, as in determining which direction the group travels, where the group sleeps, and so forth. For example, wolves and gorillas usually have an alpha male in their group.


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