May 1, 2015

State-dependent foraging: lactating voles adjust their foraging behavior according to the presence of a potential nest predator and season

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Thilo LiesenjohannJana A Eccard


Parental care often produces a trade-off between meeting nutritional demands of offspring and the duties of offspring protection, especially in altricial species. Parents have to leave their young unattended for foraging trips, during which nestlings are exposed to predators. We investigated how rodent mothers of altricial young respond to risk of nest predation in their foraging decisions. We studied foraging behavior of lactating bank voles (Myodes glareolus) exposed to a nest predator, the common shrew (Sorex araneus). We conducted the experiment in summer (high resource provisioning for both species) and autumn (less food available) in 12 replicates with fully crossed factors "shrew presence" and "season." We monitored use of feeding stations near and far from the nest as measurement of foraging activity and strategic foraging behavior. Vole mothers adapted their strategies to shrew presence and optimized their foraging behavior according to seasonal constraints, resulting in an interaction of treatment and season. In summer, shrew presence reduced food intake from feeding stations, while it enhanced intake in autumn. Shrew presence decreased the number of visited feeding stations in autumn and concentrated mother's foragin...Continue Reading

  • References11
  • Citations2


  • References11
  • Citations2


Mentioned in this Paper

Sorex cinereus
Smell Perception
Sorex araneus

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