Optimal foraging strategy to balance mixed diet by generalist consumers: a simulation model

In: Behaviour
Tarryn Schuldiner-HarpazDepartment of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJUK

Search for other papers by Tarryn Schuldiner-Harpaz in
Current site
Google Scholar
Moshe CollDepartment of Entomology, Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Search for other papers by Moshe Coll in
Current site
Google Scholar
, and
Eric WajnbergINRAE, 400 Route des Chappes, BP 167, Sophia Antipolis Cedex 06903, France
INRIA Sophia Antipolis, Project Hephaistos, 2004 Route des Lucioles, BP 93, Sophia Antipolis Cedex 06902, France

Search for other papers by Eric Wajnberg in
Current site
Google Scholar
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Animals of a wide range of taxonomic groups mix various food sources to achieve a nutritionally balanced diet. The strategies they adopt to balance multiple nutrients depend on their availability in the environment. Behavioural and physiological adaptations to forage for nutrient-differing food sources have rarely been investigated in respect to nutrient availability in the environment. We developed a simulation model to explore the strategy consumers should adopt in response to the abundance of two nutritionally complementary food types. Results show that (1) consumers should invest more effort in detecting the scarce resource; (2) there is an optimized negative relationship between effort foragers should allocate to find the two types of food; (3) consumers should exhibit higher selectivity when the proportion of food types in the habitat deviates from their optimal ratio in the diet. These findings have important implications for pest control using predators that benefit from plant-based food supplements.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 322 322 20
Full Text Views 36 36 0
PDF Views & Downloads 69 69 0