Optimal foraging: Movement patterns of bumblebees between inflorescences

Graham H. Pyke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

283 Citations (Scopus)


Nectar-collecting bumblebees are hypothesized to employ rules of movement which result in the maximum net rate of energy gain (i.e., are optimal). The optimal movement rules are derived from a mathematical model and are used to generate predicted patterns of movement. The predicted patterns are compared with field observations. These observations support the hypothesis. An important component of the mathematical model is the memory of the foraging animal. The field data have implications concerning the memory capabilities of the bumblebees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-98
Number of pages27
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes


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