Food Selection by Consumers
In the last chapter we focused on the importance of food quantity. It turns out, however, that not only abundance but quality of food items must be considered. Moreover, even though there may be sufficient abundance of food items of adequate quality, they may not be easily vulnerable to predators. In this chapter we take up the quality and availability of food particles. First, we need to consider the cues used by consumers in finding and selecting food of appropriate quality and the role of properties of the food and consumer, particularly size and chemical makeup, in food choice. We then consider the relative vulnerability of food items, mainly in reference to the morphology of prey and the physical structure of the habitat. Last, we consider consequences of food selection, especially in regard to changes of prey populations.
KeywordsSalt Marsh Food Item Prey Size Large Prey Suspension Feeder
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