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The ecological economics of kleptoparasitism: pay-offs from self-foraging versus kleptoparasitism.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22943364     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Animals commonly steal food from other species, termed interspecific kleptoparasitism, but why animals engage in kleptoparasitism compared with alternate foraging tactics, and under what circumstances they do so, is not fully understood. Determining what specific benefits animals gain from kleptoparasitism could provide valuable insight into its evolution. Here, we investigate the benefits of kleptoparasitism for a population of individually recognizable and free-living fork-tailed drongos (Dicrurus adsimilis) in the southern Kalahari Desert. Drongos engaged in two foraging behaviours: self-foraging for small insects or following other species which they kleptoparasitized for larger terrestrial prey that they could not capture themselves. Kleptoparasitism consequently enabled drongos to exploit a new foraging niche. Kleptoparasitism benefitted drongos most in the morning and on colder days because at these times pay-offs from kleptoparasitism remained stable, while those from self-foraging declined. However, drongos engaged in kleptoparasitism less than expected given the overall high (but more variable) pay-offs from this behaviour, suggesting that kleptoparasitism is a risky foraging tactic and may incur additional foraging costs compared with self-foraging. This is the first study to comprehensively investigate the benefits of facultatively engaging in kleptoparasitism, demonstrating that animals may switch to kleptoparasitism to exploit a new foraging niche when pay-offs exceed those from alternate foraging behaviours.
Authors:
Tom P Flower; Matthew F Child; Amanda R Ridley; Mike Boots
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-9-3
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of animal ecology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1365-2656     ISO Abbreviation:  J Anim Ecol     Publication Date:  2012 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-9-4     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376574     Medline TA:  J Anim Ecol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2012 British Ecological Society.
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK; DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa.
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