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

  • 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,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 foraging efforts to fewer stations. Independent of shrew presence or season, mothers foraged more in patches further away from the nest than near the nest. Results indicate that females are not investing in nest guarding but try to avoid the accumulation of olfactory cues near the nest leading a predator to the young. Additionally, our study shows how foraging strategies and nest attendance are influenced by seasonal food provision.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Thilo Liesenjohann, Monique Liesenjohann, Lenka Trebaticka, Janne Sundell, Marko Haapakoski, Hannu Ylonen, Jana Anja EccardORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-015-1889-x
ISSN:0340-5443 (print)
ISSN:1432-0762 (online)
Parent Title (English):Behavioral ecology and sociobiology
Publisher:Springer
Place of publication:New York
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Interference; Myodes glareolus; Nest protection; Optimal foraging; Seasonality; Sorex araneus
Volume:69
Issue:5
Pagenumber:8
First Page:747
Last Page:754
Funder:German Science Foundation (DFG) [DFG EC 361/2, EC 361/4-1]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert