Variation of within-day foraging costs in the striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)
Foraging behavior is influenced by spatial and temporal habitat heterogeniety. Here we report on within-day foraging and perceived risk of predation by the striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio) in a grassland savannah with wooded “islands” using giving-up densities (GUD, amount of food left behind in depletable food patches). Higher GUDs correspond to higher forging costs. GUDs were measured six times per day at 2-h intervals from paired stations along fern–grass habitat boundaries at 3 and 6 m distances from 10 wooded islands. R. pumilio’s GUDs varied significantly over the course of the day with highest GUDs during the afternoon hours of 1–3 pm, and lowest between 7 and 9 am in the morning. The same pattern was consistent for both habitats (fern and grass) and distances from the wooded islands. GUDs decreased with distance from the woody islands in both fern and grass habitats and were significantly lower in the fern habitat. This activity pattern suggests that R. pumilio responds to a spectrum of spatially and temporally varying risks from a variety of predators including aerial predators that increase risk as they make use of mid-day thermals.
KeywordsRhabdomys pumilio Foraging costs Predation risk
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.