Foraging Behavior and Ecology
edited by David W. Stephens, Joel S. Brown and Ronald C. Ydenberg
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Cloth: 978-0-226-77263-9 | Paper: 978-0-226-77264-6 | Electronic: 978-0-226-77265-3


Foraging is fundamental to animal survival and reproduction, yet it is much more than a simple matter of finding food; it is a biological imperative. Animals must find and consume resources to succeed, and they make extraordinary efforts to do so. For instance, pythons rarely eat, but when they do, their meals are large—as much as 60 percent larger than their own bodies. The snake’s digestive system is normally dormant, but during digestion metabolic rates can increase fortyfold. A python digesting quietly on the forest floor has the metabolic rate of thoroughbred in a dead heat. This and related foraging processes have broad applications in ecology, cognitive science, anthropology, and conservation biology—and they can be further extrapolated in economics, neurobiology, and computer science.

Foraging is the first comprehensive review of the topic in more than twenty years. A monumental undertaking, this volume brings together twenty-two experts from throughout the field to offer the latest on the mechanics of foraging, modern foraging theory, and foraging ecology. The fourteen essays cover all the relevant issues, including cognition, individual behavior, caching behavior, parental behavior, antipredator behavior, social behavior, population and community ecology, herbivory, and conservation. Considering a wide range of taxa, from birds to mammals to amphibians, Foraging will be the definitive guide to the field.


David W. Stephens is professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior at the University of Minnesota and coauthor, with J. R. Krebs, of Foraging Theory.Joel S. Brown is professor of biology at the University of Illinois at Chicagoand author, with T. L. Vincent, of Evolutionary Game Theory, Natural Selection, and Darwinian Dynamics. Ronald C. Ydenberg is professor in the behavioral ecology research group and director of the Centre for Wildlife Ecology at Simon Fraser University.


"The book contains an enormous amount of interesting and useful information and ideas, and is the kind of book that rewards repeated reading. . . . We recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn more about this very lively area of research."
— H. Ronald Pulliam, Integrative and Comparative Biology

"The fourteen essays included here were written by experts from throughout the field, and include discussions on the mechanics of foraging, modern theoretical models of foraging bevavior, and foraging ecology. . . . A valuable reference for ecologists and biologists, and a useful text for students."
— Stephen Eddy, Northeastern Naturalist

"The editors and authors have done a superlative job in covering an incredible diversity of issues relevant to foraging while keeping the reader on the ball with snippets of fascinating information . . . thus making this publication now essential for anyone who wants to be brought up to speed."
— Rory P. Wilson, Journal of Experimental Biology

"A monumental undertaking, this volume brings together 22 experts from throughout the field to offer the latest on the mechanics of foraging, modern foraging theory, and foraging ecology. . . . Considering a wide range of taxa, from bird to mammals to amphibians, Foraging will be the definitive guide to the field."
— Ethology, Ecology & Evolution

"I highly recommend this book to all who study foraging. Graduate students will find a wide array of fascinating questions. . . . Researchers and faculty members will find a convenient source of updated information on foraging theory and foraging behavior."
— Luc-Alain Giraldeau, BioScience




1. Foraging: An Overview

Part I - Foraging and Information Processing

2. Models of Information Use

3. Neuroethology of Foraging

4. Cognition for Foraging

Part II - Processing, Herbivory, and Storage

5. Food Acquisition, Processing, and Digestions

6. Herbivory

7. Energy Storage and Expenditure

Part III - Modern Foraging Theory

8. Provisioning

9. Foraging in the Face of Danger

10. Foraging with Others: Games Social Foragers Play

Part IV - Foraging Ecology

11. Foraging and Population Dynamics

12. Community Ecology

13. Foraging and the Ecology of Fear

14. On Foraging Theory, Humans, and the Conservation of Diversity: A Prospectus


Literature Cited