A simple model of cannibalism

J. M. Cushing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


A simple nonlinear discrete model is derived for the dynamics of a two-age class population consisting of juveniles and adults that includes cannibalism of juveniles by adults. The model is investigated analytically and numerically. It is shown how even this very simple model, by incorporating the negative and positive feedbacks due to cannibalism, can account for several important phenomena concerning the dynamics of cannibalistic populations that have been discussed and studied in the literature. These include the possibilities that the practice of cannibalism can (1) in certain circumstances be a form of self-regulation that promotes stable equilibration, while in other circumstances it can lead to population oscillations; (2) result in a viable population in circumstances when its absence would otherwise result in extinction; and (3) be the source of multiple stable equilibria and hysteresis effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-71
Number of pages25
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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