Optimal foraging in bumblebees

Calculation of net rate of energy intake and optimal patch choice

Graham H. Pyke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To test many predictions of "optimal foraging theory" it is necessary to calculate the rate of net energy intake of a foraging animal. Equations are derived for the calculation of the rate of net energy intake of a foraging bumblebee. The assumptions that form the basis of these energy equations are discussed. As examples, the rates of net energy intake are calculated for Bombus flavifrons workers foraging on neighboring patches of Aconitum columbianum and Delphinium barbeyi. If the bumblebees forage optimally, their net rates of energy intake in the two patches should be equal. The observed rates are consistent with this hypothesis. The application of an optimality approach to pollination biology is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-246
Number of pages15
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

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