Moonlight avoidance in gerbils reveals a sophisticated interplay among time allocation, vigilance and state-dependent foraging Academic Article uri icon


  • Foraging animals have several tools for managing the risk of predation, and the foraging games between them and their predators. Among these, time allocation is foremost, followed by vigilance and apprehension. Together, their use influences a forager9s time allocation and giving-up density (GUD) in depletable resource patches. We examined Allenby9s gerbils (Gerbilus andersoni allenbyi) exploiting seed resource patches in a large vivarium under varying moon phases in the presence of a red fox (Vulpes vulpes). We measured time allocated to foraging patches electronically and GUDs from seeds left behind in resource patches. From these, we estimated handling times, attack rates and quitting harvest rates (QHRs). Gerbils displayed greater vigilance (lower attack rates) at brighter moon phases (full< wane< wax< new). Similarly, they displayed higher GUDs at brighter moon phases …

publication date

  • January 1, 2010