Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Central Place Foraging

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_881-1


A foraging strategy in which prey or resources are transported to a nest or other habitual base rather than being consumed in situ.


Many animals use one or more habitual locations as nests, shelters, or storage caches during all or part of their lives and transport resources to this central place. Examples include birds bringing food to their nests to feed their chicks, bees storing honey at their nest to feed brood and provide food during periods when no flowers are available, male terns bringing food to females during courtship, chipmunks stockpiling seed for the winter, or eastern woodrats collecting nesting materials. A central place can also function as a store of information, as in ant colonies where pheromone trails radiating from the nest encode the sum of the colony’s knowledge about available food sources or honeybees which dance inside the nest to communicate the position of flowers. Humans, too, are central place foragers, transporting everything...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological and Chemical SciencesQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Lauren Guillette
    • 1
  1. 1.University of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsUK