Squirrel cache notes

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Squirrel cache notes

  1. 1. Squirrel Cache Notes Spritzer, Mark D., and Daniel Brazeau. "Direct Vs. Indirect Benefits Of Caching By Gray Squirrels (SciurusCarolinensis )." Ethology 109.7 (2003): 559- 575. Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.Results of tests show that squirrels cache for direct benefits rather than indirect benefits.Study was conducted in the Natural Area Teaching Laboratory on the University of Florida campus. Using 140squirrels.Caching is the handling of uneaten food items to conserve them for future use. This includes preparation,placement, and concealment.Benefitscan be direct and indirect, depending how well an individual squirrel can recover its caches, or it could shareits caches with its kin.Can increase survivorship during periods of food shortages, like in winter months,There is communal caching where everyone conceals food in a central area where everything is freely shared. Thiskind of caching is common amongst acorn woodpeckers (Melanerpes foricivorus), beaver (Castor Canadensis), andmany social insects. These species share two common behaviors: (1) live in groups of closely related individualswhich persist over long periods of time, and (2) stored in a LARDER which is available to all group members.Grey Squirrels do not cache like woodpeckers and beavers. They make a single visit to conceal each cache in adifferent location, this is known as scaterhoarding. They still can, however, share with kin by placing their caches inthe same general area, which increases the chance that their own kin will find it rather than others.Grey squirrels mostly cache in small holes in the ground and occasionally in branches of bushes of treesSince squirrels do engage in other social behaviors, like nest sharing with kin and chasing of non kin.The studies showed weak evidence for kin clustering compared to ground squirrel studies, genetic similarity did notseem to influence caching behavior, meaning kinship does not affect their caching behavior. (12)Direct benefit hypothesis was supported: squirrels moved nuts toward there centeal range, clumped caches, andmoved caches farther away from food sources when competitors were present (13).
  2. 2. Selfish caching like scatterhoardingIs an adaptive strategy as long as they recover enough proportion ofits own cache to outweigh the cost of caching (14).

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