Article

Landscape Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 437-447

First online:

Interactions between landscape structure and animal behavior: the roles of heterogeneously distributed resources and food deprivation on movement patterns

  • Nancy E. McIntyreAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University
  • , John A. WiensAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University

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Abstract

To examine how resource distributions affect the movement behaviors of fed and food-deprived Eleodes extricata Say darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), we experimentally manipulated the dispersion of food to create clumped, random, and uniform distributions in an otherwise homogeneous 25-m2 experimental field landscape. Quantitative measures of the tortuosity, net linear displacement, overall path length, and velocity of beetle movement pathways showed that food-deprived beetles generally moved more slowly and over shorter distances than did fed beetles. This effect was mediated by the spatial distribution of food, however; food distributed randomly over the landscape evoked more tortuous paths over larger overall distances. The foraging movements of food-deprived beetles were most different from those of fed individuals in treatments with randomly distributed food resources. These results show that the influence of spatial structure on individuals depends not only on the arrangement of pattern but also on the function that the structure plays. Thus, 'spatial structure' is defined not only by physical characteristics of the landscape but also by how that structure is used by animals.

food deprivation movement resource distribution