Central Place Foraging for Nonfood Items: Determination of the Stick Size-Value Relationship of House Building Materials Collected by Eastern Woodrats

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The American Naturalist, ISSN: 0003-0147, Vol: 123, Issue: 6, Page: 841-853

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http://commons.ln.edu.hk/sw_master/4760; https://works.bepress.com/markmcginley/8
MCGINLEY, Mark, Alan
University of Chicago Press
Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Life Sciences
article description
Proposes that 'value' can be used as a currency for nonfood items and presents a procedure for determining the size-value relationship of nonfood items. This procedure was used to determine the stick size-value relationship of sticks collected by eastern woodrats Neotoma floridana as house building materials. Simulations of profitability versus distance curves for 5 general stick size- value relationships predict that regardless of the stick size-value relationship, the number of stick sizes above the minimum profitability value decreases with distance from the central place. This prediction was supported in a laboratory experiment. Woodrats also collected more selectively (decreased variance) as they collect farther from the house. Since the woodrats were foraging adaptively, taking only those sticks above the minimum profitability value, it was possible to use stick-size preference to select between the 5 general relationships. There is an increasing relationship between stick size and value for woodrats initiating house building.-from Author