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Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Jun 7;279(1736):2212-8. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2410. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Optimal foraging for specific nutrients in predatory beetles.

Author information

1
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK. k.jensen@exeter.ac.uk

Abstract

Evolutionary theory predicts that animals should forage to maximize their fitness, which in predators is traditionally assumed equivalent to maximizing energy intake rather than balancing the intake of specific nutrients. We restricted female predatory ground beetles (Anchomenus dorsalis) to one of a range of diets varying in lipid and protein content, and showed that total egg production peaked at a target intake of both nutrients. Other beetles given a choice to feed from two diets differing only in protein and lipid composition selectively ingested nutrient combinations at this target intake. When restricted to nutritionally imbalanced diets, beetles balanced the over- and under-ingestion of lipid and protein around a nutrient composition that maximized egg production under those constrained circumstances. Selective foraging for specific nutrients in this predator thus maximizes its reproductive performance. Our findings have implications for predator foraging behaviour and in the structuring of ecological communities.

PMID:
22237910
PMCID:
PMC3321704
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2011.2410
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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