Ecological consequences of foraging mode

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Ecological consequences of foraging mode

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Title: Ecological consequences of foraging mode
Author: Huey, Raymond B.; Pianka, Eric R.
Abstract: Desert lizards are typically either widely foraging or sit-and-wait predators, and these foraging modes are correlated with major differences in ecology. Foraging mode is related to the type of prey eaten by lizards. Widely foraging lizards in the Kalahari desert, the Western Australian desert, and the North American desert generally eat more prey that are sedentary, unpredictably distributed, and clumped (e.g., termites) or that are large and inaccessible (inactive scorpions) than do sit-and-wait lizards. In contrast, sit-and-wait lizards eat more prey that are active. Foraging mode also appears to influence the types of predators that in turn eat the lizards. For example, a sit-and-wait snake eats predominately widely foraging lizards. Crossovers in foraging mode thus exist between trophic levels. Widely foraging lizards may also encounter predators more frequently, as suggested by analyses of relative tail lengths; but tail break frequencies are ambiguous. Daily maintenance energetic expenditures of widely foraging lizards appear to be about 1.3-1.5 times greater than those of sit-and-wait lizards in the same habitats, but gross food gains are about 1.3-2.1 times greater. Widely foraging species also have lower relative clutch volumes, apparently in response to enhanced risks of predation. Foraging mode within one species varies with changes in food availability. Physiology, morphology, and risk of predation might generally restrict the flexibility of foraging mode. Because foraging mode constrains numerous important aspects of ecology, any general model of foraging velocity must be complex.

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