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Effects of Predation Hazard on Foraging "Constraints": Patch-Use Strategies in Grey Squirrels

Jonathan A. Newman, Gregg M. Recer, Susan M. Zwicker and Thomas Caraco
Oikos
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jul., 1988), pp. 93-97
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3565668
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3565668
Page Count: 5
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Effects of Predation Hazard on Foraging "Constraints": Patch-Use Strategies in Grey Squirrels
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Abstract

We examined the effects of predation hazard on patch-residence time and meal size (usually taken as foraging decisions), as well as on travel time, handling time, and the gain function (usually taken as constraints on foraging decisions). Each day we presented grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) with eight artificial patches of sunflower seeds of the same initial density (either 25, 50, 100, or 200) at one distance to cover (either 5 or 15 m). We found that the squirrels ate the same quantity of seeds farther from cover, but that they ate them significantly faster. Squirrels also travelled significantly faster between patches, and handled seeds significantly faster within patches when farther from cover. The change in the handling times caused the squirrels' gain functions to be higher farther from cover. We found a predictable pattern of variation in the values of the presumed "constraints".

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