Document Detail


Influence of environment structure and food availability on the foraging behaviour of the laboratory rat.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12505172     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
According to the optimal foraging theory, an animal is expected to enter into a given activity depending on associated costs and benefits. In line with this assumption, numerous studies have suggested that energetic reward is balanced by predation risk in foraging decisions. Therefore, the use of information about indirect cues of predation risk such as physical structure (e.g. cover, escape substrate) can give individuals a selective advantage. We studied foraging behaviour in the laboratory rat in an experimental maze; it allowed us to vary two environmental parameters: food availability and physical structure. In a first experiment, rats were offered a choice between two areas only differing in cover density. In a second experiment, the two areas only differed in food density. In a third experiment, we crossed both parameters. Our results showed that high "cover" patch was preferentially exploited (experiment 1) and that rats foraged more in the high food density patch (experiment 2). The last experiment showed that rats partially trade-off between cover density and food availability, even if the safest area was still preferred. Therefore, we suggest that foraging decisions depend primarily on safety needs, rather than food availability, at least when animals are not severely food-deprived.
Authors:
V Arcis; D Desor
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Behavioural processes     Volume:  60     ISSN:  1872-8308     ISO Abbreviation:  Behav. Processes     Publication Date:  2003 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-Dec-30     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7703854     Medline TA:  Behav Processes     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  191-198     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
Université Henri Poincaré, Nancy 1, Laboratoire de Biologie du Comportement, Cedex, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France
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