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  • Optimal foraging theory  (1)
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  • 1
    ISSN: 1432-1939
    Keywords: Pogonomyrmex ; Optimal foraging theory ; Ants
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Summary Certain predictions of optimal- and central place-foraging theory were tested on the desert harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus. Colonies were offered three different sizes of oat seed and found to maximize net energy intake (ei) over time (t i ) by harvesting the seed sizes with the highest e i /t i rank. Two aspects of t i were measured that were assumed constant in previous studies. The handling components of t i (time required to manipulate the seed and travel time back to the colony with the food) were measured and found to be positively correlated with seed size. The manipulation success rate (the percentage of handled seeds successfully picked up) decreased with increased seed size. These results point out how important it is to measure all parameters of e i /t i rather than to assume constancy with both prey type and foraging distance. The relative abundance of less preferred food types was important in determining the proportion of preferred types in the diet. The food supply of eight colonies was manipulated experimentally over a 25-day period. Four “deprived” colonies were constrained within aluminum enclosures to prevented foraging. The remaining four “satiated” colonies were given food ad libitum. The niche breadths of the treated colonies were then compared to controls, but found not to differ significantly. Seed baits were offered at three distances from the colony to test whether selectivity increased with disance. Contrary to theoretical predictions, all colonies harcested about the same proportion of each seed size at each distance.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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