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Proc Biol Sci. 2006 Jul 22;273(1595):1743-50.

Scale-free foraging by primates emerges from their interaction with a complex environment.

Author information

1
Departamento de Sistemas Complejos, Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México DF.

Abstract

Scale-free foraging patterns are widespread among animals. These may be the outcome of an optimal searching strategy to find scarce, randomly distributed resources, but a less explored alternative is that this behaviour may result from the interaction of foraging animals with a particular distribution of resources. We introduce a simple foraging model where individual primates follow mental maps and choose their displacements according to a maximum efficiency criterion, in a spatially disordered environment containing many trees with a heterogeneous size distribution. We show that a particular tree-size frequency distribution induces non-Gaussian movement patterns with multiple spatial scales (Lévy walks). These results are consistent with field observations of tree-size variation and spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) foraging patterns. We discuss the consequences that our results may have for the patterns of seed dispersal by foraging primates.

PMID:
16790406
PMCID:
PMC1634795
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2005.3462
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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