Trait Definition
Solitary Living alone, not gregarious (Thompson, 1995).
Solitary (non-territorial) Solitary with no defined territory.
Solitary (territorial) Solitary but with a defined territory
Gregarious Living in groups or communities or growing in clusters (Thompson, 1995); where the organisms actively seek out members of the same species as adults, juveniles or larvae for protection from the environment or predators, or for breeding.
Colonial (e.g. sea birds) Living in large colonies of individuals - in the same area from season to season - usually for breeding purposes.
Social group Cooperative groups of the same species e.g., social insects, packs of mammals etc.
Small social group (tribe, pride, pack, or pod) Small groups of individuals that work together for mutual benefit, often held together by familial (matriarchal or patriarchal) bonds, e.g. a pack of wolves, a pod of dolphins, a pride or lions, a tribe of humans.
Large social group  (insect colonies) Large colonies of individuals cooperating for mutual benefit, made up of thousands or more individuals, often with a dominant matriarch, e.g. social insects, bees, ants, termites etc.


  1. Barnes, R.S.K., Calow, P. and Olive P.J.W., 1993. The invertebrates: a new synthesis. Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd.
  2. Thompson, D., (ed.) 1995. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. 9th ed. London: Oxford University Press.