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Nutrient-Specific Foraging in Invertebrate Predators

Science  07 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5706, pp. 111-113
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105493

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Abstract

Many herbivores and omnivores adjust their food selection behavior to regulate the intake of multiple nutrients. Carnivores, however, are generally assumed to optimize the rate of prey capture rather than select prey according to nutrient composition. We showed experimentally that invertebrate predators can forage selectively for protein and lipids to redress specific nutritional imbalances. This selection can take place at different stages of prey handling: The predator may select among foods of different nutritional composition, eat more of a prey if it is rich in nutrients that the predator is deficient in, or extract specific nutrients from a single prey item.

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