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Females In Charge: Matriarchal social animals

Humans have had a patriarchal society. Men in ancient times were the leaders, had multiple partners, and like any social animal, conducted their behaviour in a group. Lately, that has changed, patriarchy is being punched down. Apes and other primates have male members in charge. Animals like lions also have a single male in charge of the pride. Nature has variation in its structure, many social animals have female members in charge. Such a society is led by the matriarch. Let's learn what animals follow this structure of social protocol.


matriarch in elephant herd

Elephant herds are led by the group's oldest and most dominant female. The female's priority is caring for the young calves and their protection from predators. The matriarch's responsibility as the head of the group also revolves around food and grazing. The males are referred to as bulls and live a solitary lifestyle. Interestingly, it has been found that elephants engage in healthy social interactions with other herds. The Bulls can form their own small grouping, but their nature is more nomadic. The number of members in a herd can vary. At the death of the matriarch, the next ranking female takes the position of the leader.

Spotted Hyenas

Hyenas have a matriarchal society

Spotted Hyenas are found in regions of Africa (Tanzania, Serengeti, Kenya etc). The dominant female leads this carnivore animal society. It is said to work in an alpha female fashion. Hence, all females are hierarchy above the males. The group is called a clan and the young ones follow the pattern of hierarchy as of their mother's status in the group. Hyenas are competitive animals in nature thus the alpha female can be overthrown in the societal structure by a stronger female. Female spotted Hyenas are anatomically similar to the males since they have a pseudopenis structure. Hyenas are the only mammals that have such anatomy of external sex organs. Hyenas are skilled hunters of Serengeti and are essential for the ecosystem.


Social behaviour of orcas

Orcas are members of the dolphin family and are commonly known as killer whales. Orca populations are found in every ocean, however with fishing and hunting on the rise, their population has decreased a big amount. Orcas are the apex predators of the sea and masterful hunters. Orcas are social creatures and live in pods. These pods can range up to fifteen or more individuals. Pods are usually led by a female orca, the most skillful, oldest, and experienced. Female killer whales train their calves in hunting techniques.

Honey bees

Queen of honey bee hive

Honeybees live in colonies which are regulated and maintained by the queen of the hive. This queen bee is sexually active and is responsible for production of new males and females in the colony. The male members are called drones. The female on copulation can produce more than a thousand eggs and give rise to drones and the female population of the hive. Interestingly, the queen of the hive is also under threat from the members of the colony as it gets older, the members of the hive can group around her and suffocate her to death. After that, a new queen is chosen from the colony. The queen is also forced into leaving the hive if it fails to fight any opponent that may arrive. Honey bees are social creatures and their social behaviours are extremely complex.

Animals like lemurs and insects like termites are also led by the female matriarch, or queen in the case of termites. Most animals are social in nature and depend on the group to survive. The gathering of animals in a herd is a survival instinct and their behaviours are passed down to generations.




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