AbstractA simple model based on microphagous feeders (animals which process their food items in bulk with little chance of selecting food items on an individual basis) has been developed to predict how ingestion rate should vary with food quality if the net time rate of gain of some measure of food quality, say energy, is to be maximized. Three variants of the model were considered, in which absorption efficiency (1) was constant, (2) decreased linearly with increased ingestion rate, or (3) decreased exponentially. The optimal ingestion rate, which maximized the net rate of energy gain, depended on food quality and increased on higher quality foods. For certain parameter values, constantly maintaining the maximum ingestion rate resulted in maximal net energy gain. Experimental results from the literature on a variety of animals are not in consistent accord with these predictions. It seems likely that uncontrolled and confounding variables, such as food composition or palatability, may obscure the effects of food quality on ingestion rate.
RightsCopyright for scholarly resources published in RUcore is retained by the copyright holder. By virtue of its appearance in this open access medium, you are free to use this resource, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. Other uses, such as reproduction or republication, may require the permission of the copyright holder.