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Trade-off between visual detectability and nutrient content in the patch choice of the Pyrenean salamander Euproctus asper



Trade-off between visual detectability and nutrient content in the patch choice of the Pyrenean salamander Euproctus asper



Ethology 101(1): 39-45



According to predictions based on recent foraging theory, animals encountering two or more patches that contain the same prey type at different densities should choose the higher density patch. If detectability varies among patches, foragers should trade off search costs with nutritional benefits to be gained from either patch type. To test this latter prediction, young Pyrenean salamanders (Euproctus asper) were confronted with both a conspicuous and a concealed patch consisting of living chironomid larvae enclosed in two glass micro-aquaria. During four experimental treatments, the prey density in the two patches was altered. The salamanders showed a clear preference for the conspicuous patch in three treatments, but switched to an increased choice of the concealed patch in the fourth treatment when only a single chironomid was presented in the conspicuous patch compared to 19 chironomids in the concealed patch. However, during treatments with high prey densities in the concealed patch, E. asper choice performance was probably influenced by a dominance of visual over extra-optical perception. During choice of the concealed patch, E. asper snapped at lower frequencies than during choice of the conspicuous patch, indicating a change in the foraging style related to prey encountered in darkness. These results provide novel insights into the behavioural tradeoffs met by foragers during diet choice and provide a basis for future modelling of choice scenarios among alternative habitat types.

Accession: 009659540

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.1995.tb00343.x

Download PDF Full Text: Trade-off between visual detectability and nutrient content in the patch choice of the Pyrenean salamander Euproctus asper



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