Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 291–300

Foraging in the seed-harvester ant genus Pogonomyrmex: are energy costs important?

  • Jonathon A. Weier
  • Donald H. FeenerJr
Article
  • 106 Downloads

Abstract

Energy intake and expenditure on natural foraging trips were estimated for the seed-harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex maricopa and P. rugosus. During seed collection, P. maricopa foraged individually, whereas P. rugosus employed a trunk-trail foraging system. Energy gain per trip and per minute were not significantly different between species. There was also no interspecific difference in energy cost per trip, but energy cost per minute was lower for P. maricopa foragers because they spent on average 7 min longer searching for a load on each trip. Including both unsuccessful and successful foraging trips, average energy gain per trip was more than 100 times the energy cost per trip for both species. Based on this result, we suggest that time cost incurred during individual foraging trips is much more important than energy cost in terms of maximizing net resource intake over time. In addition, because energy costs are so small relative to gains, we propose that energy costs associated with foraging may be safely ignored in future tests of foraging theory with seed-harvesting ant species.

Key words

Energy costs Energy gains Foraging theory Time costs Pogonomyrmex 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathon A. Weier
    • 1
  • Donald H. FeenerJr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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