A test of simultaneous and successive negative contrast in fallow deer foraging behaviour
2007 (English)In: Animal Behaviour, ISSN 0003-3472, E-ISSN 1095-8282, Vol. 74, no 3, 395-402 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The study of contrast investigates how rewards influence behaviour when animals are exposed to two or more levels of rewards compared to when they experience only a single level. The appearance of an exaggerated response to a shift in reward is referred to as a contrast effect and is an empirically well-established phenomenon. Although contrast effects could be important in foraging behaviour, no direct experimental tests of contrast effects in foraging by mammalian herbivores exist. During foraging, mammalian herbivores can encounter a range of plants that vary in the amount of nutrients and toxins. They may thus compare food items by taste, which in turn can give rise to contrast effects. In feeding experiments with fallow deer, Dama dama, we investigated the presence of simultaneous negative contrast. We found that the deer consumed less from a bowl of pellets containing 1% tannin when they shifted to it from a bowl with pellets containing only 0.25% tannin than when they shifted from another bowl with pellets containing 1% tannin. We estimated a fourfold difference between treatments in test food consumption at the highest levels of preloading, but none at the lowest levels. We found no support for successive negative contrast in experiments where the deer approached food in a runway, comparing a current reward with the memory of a previous reward. We suggest that simultaneous negative contrast can influence foraging decisions in mammalian herbivores.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 74, no 3, 395-402 p.
contrast effect, Dama dama, fallow deer, food choice, foraging, mammalian herbivore, tannin
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24226DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.08.018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24226DiVA: diva2:197051