What is the most rare or interesting interaction between multiple animals you have seen?

I’m not sure if this counts, but I recently saw hundreds of bristle millipedes swarming around a spider’s egg sac. Not sure why they were doing it either, first time I’ve seen anything like it.


Wow, so many fascinating stories!

About 20 years ago I was working in Coldfoot, in Alaska’s Brooks Range. I was out picking blueberries in the evening until it got too dark, then headed back to my tiny cabin. I heard something coming fast through the brush so I froze in place and sure enough, a cow moose came running by about 20 feet away. I waited because I knew she had 2 calves and again, I heard something coming. Only it was a grizzly galloping after her. It was so close I could hear it panting. Instinctively, I stayed frozen. This was a young, predatory bear that had been seen around the area multiple times in recent days. It charged on by but my heart was pounding and I was shaking for at least an hour. I hung on to the blueberries, though. I never saw the twin calves again.

On a lighter note, there used to be a raven nest up the creek above our house and the parents would bring the young by as soon as they were out of the nest (probably because the adults would scavenge for food around our small dog team). One spring, a group of 6 juveniles showed up on our small lawn (I was observing from the upstairs window) near a stand of big spruce trees. A red squirrel was climbing down one of the trees when the squad spotted it. They all hopped closer, squawking and doing their “jumping jack” alarm hops, clearly fascinated by this new creature which by then was only about 4 feet off the ground. The squirrel turned and high-tailed (literally) up the tree, the baby ravens all jumped back in terror, and then everyone went about their day.


Immature Bald Eagle flies low over a very large flock of mixed waterfowl. All fly off or dive, according to their skills. Bald Eagle circles back. A few fly off, the other dive. Eagle circles back. Waterfowl dive – but one Coot that wasn’t in on the program pops up. Eagle casually picks it up. It was dead before it left the water.


I had put a carrion beetle in a plastic cup to get better light for photos. Mites were scrambling all over it. I finished my photos and set the cup out so the beetle could go on his way, and the mites suddenly lined up in a row right BEFORE the beetle climbed to the rim of the cup, lifted his wings and flew away. Now HOW did they KNOW it was time for takeoff? :grinning:


Just a tip, if you wouldn’t like this to happen ( for fear of injury, et.c) you could make feeders and DIY them so only bees/wasps/hornets, etc. can feed w/out being affected by the hummingbirds. And then you could buy feeders that don’t allow wasps or hornets to visit them. Alternatively you could just do a hummingbird feeder that doesn’t allow insects if you don’t care for them to come. Of course if you like it how it is by all means leave it how it is :grinning:

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This didn’t describe a multispecies interaction, not even a multiple individual interaction, so I’m removing it. (It may show up again some other day.)


Two different snake species, Hierophis viridiflavus carbonarius and Natrix helvetica mating together in the same spot and forming a big interspecific tangle.
Unfortunately I can’t upload videos here, but I have this photo.


Its known widely now that many Lycaenid butterflies are dependant on ant hosts to complete their life cycle in what is the majority of the time, a parasitic relationship where the butterfly larvae emit chemical cues which trigger the ants brood protection instincts, taking the larvae down into the nest where it is fed and watched over until its ready to pupate. The parasitism comes in when you factor in that these ant workers will spend less time feeding their own larvae in order to compensate for the enormous demand of the caterpillar, sometimes even killing and sacrificing their young to quell the caterpillars appetite

Bearing this in mind;

4 years ago during the pandemic, I was working in Cape Town, and the nature of my job meant I spent alot of time in the beautiful hills and mountains of the Table Mountain National Park. I’ve always had an eye for Butterflies and one day I spotted a particularly interesting one not commonly found, a Mountain Skolly (genus: Thestor). As I leant in closer on this little butterfly sitting unperturbed on a small patch of sandy quarts, I noticed quite a bit of movement underneath it - small ants! They were causing enough commotion at one point that the butterfly had to steady itself and regain balance; what exactly the ants were doing, being drawn to the underside of the Skolly’s body and running the length of its legs down with their antennae, is something we still don’t know.

A few species in this taxon are known to be ant-dependant, but there is no record in any scientific literature that suggests this relationship extends past the final moult and pupation of the larvae to adulthood, so then what the heck was going on here?

One theory of mine: Chemical evolution plays out as elaborately as and on par with biological evolution, scent compounds that used to work wonders on ant hosts at one point in time under one set of environmental conditions, may certainly not continue to do so in the future and will need to change. Perhaps this adult butterfly, if female, was looking for an ovipositing site, found one, and came to suss out if the right ant species was present before ‘priming’ as many of them as possible with a scent cue that would better condition them to accept the larvae later on? This theory doesn’t in any way account for the nuances in ant chemical communications, something which I know next to nothing about, so still a long way off from being testable and verified through other observations.

The mystery continues…


A fight between 2 ant species, the larger Furrowed Ants probably attempted to prey on the smaller Turfgrass Ant, and it fought back, grabbing onto one of the furrowed ants’ antennae, the furrowed ants clearly won, based on their numbers, size, strength, and the damage they did to the turfgrass ant


It’s probably not a rare interaction, since there’s a magpie involved, but I made this observation of a not-quite-adult Bald Eagle getting the chalk harrassed out of it by a Black-billed Magpie.

This is one of the photos; the only one that I managed of the magpie flying up under the eagle’s tailfeathers.


Speaking of magpies, I don’t think I ever posted this


A pair of Magpies were just having the best time harassing this Raven. I have a video of it on my phone somewhere I should try to find.


I don’t know if it was the most rare, but it was certainly amusing… a Painted Turtle riding around on the back of a Common Snapping Turtle at Great Swamp NWR, NJ… posted here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/200011337.


Oh, man; it’s an avian version of Mods vs. Rockers!

So … it really is turtles all the way down.


Young Salamandra salamandra trying to eat a cranefly larva twice the size of its body. The larva was half-buried, flailing around and waving its “predator” like a flag.
At first I thought the salamander was the one getting eaten.


I have to ask, how did the salamander crane fly interaction end?

I didn’t watch until the end because it kept going on and on, but surely at some point the salamander had to desist.