Journal of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 631–649 | Cite as

A game theoretical model of kleptoparasitism with incomplete information

  • Mark Broom
  • Jan Rychtář


Kleptoparasitism, the stealing of food from one animal by another, is a common natural phenomenon that has been modelled mathematically in a number of ways. The handling process of food items can take some time and the value of such items can vary depending upon how much handling an item has received. Furthermore this information may be known to the handler but not the potential challenger, so there is an asymmetry between the information possessed by the two competitors. We use game-theoretic methods to investigate the consequences of this asymmetry for continuously consumed food items, depending upon various natural parameters. A variety of solutions are found, and there are complex situations where three possible solutions can occur for the same set of parameters. It is also possible to have situations which involve members of the population exhibiting different behaviours from each other. We find that the asymmetry of information often appears to favour the challenger, despite the fact that it possesses less information than the challenged individual.


ESS Strategy Food stealing Kleptoparasitic Apple model Asymmetry of knowledge 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)

Primary 91A22 Secondary 92B05 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of SussexBrightonUK
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsThe University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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