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The feed feed decision how goldfish carassius auratus solve the patch depletion problem

The feed feed decision how goldfish carassius auratus solve the patch depletion problem

Behaviour 89(3-4): 175-196

The feed:feed decision concerns the problem of how an animal chooses between various feeding activities. Optimal foraging theory fails to account for this decision-making process because it does not describe how animals obtain information about their feeding opportunities. The model discussed describes how this information is obtained and how it influences the feed:feed decision. The model is first described in a simplified form, the dynamic matching rule. This rule states that the animal allocates time to each patch in proportion to the number of rewards it recently obtained from each. In the case where food is available in different patches, it predicts a gradual development of preference for the better patch. Results from published studies where patch profitabilities remained constant support this prediction. The model is tested by examining how goldfish distribute their time between 2 patches, when these patches are depleted as a consequence of foraging. The model predicts that goldfish will first develop a preference for the initially higher density patch, but that a reversal in this development will occur once they deplete this patch below the other patch. The results support this model. Limitations of this simple model are discussed. It is a simplified version of Harley's (1981) relative payoff sum rule. Harley's model identifies 2 factors which interact in determining behavior. One is an excitatory effect that results from feeding; the other describes what the animal has learned from previous experience. (The dynamic matching rule did not consider the latter effect). Predictions made by this model are also supported by the goldfish results. The functional implications of Harley's model are discussed. This model predicts equilibrium behavior which closely approximates the optimal response and describes how behavioral mechanisms are structured so that animals will forage efficiently.

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