On the economics of sit-and-wait foraging: Site selection and assessment

W. M. Beachly, D. W. Stephens, K. B. Toyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We present two models of optimal resource exploitation for sit-and-wait foragers. The first model assumes immediate recognition of site quality and that site quality does not change over time. This model predicts a forager's minimum acceptable site quality. We present a graphical analysis to show how (1) the distribution of site qualities, (2) the travel time between sites, (3) cost of search, and (4) expected duration of the foraging process influence the minimum acceptable rate. Our second model allows site qualities to change and relaxes the assumption of immediate recognition. This model defines conditions of (1) state duration, (2) recognition time, (3) site abundance, and (4) cost of search where the optimal policy is to stay put in a site regardless of experience. We discuss the implications of these models for the design and interpretation of field experiments of site use and habitat selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-268
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995


  • Habitat selection
  • Optimality models
  • Resource exploitation
  • Sit-and-wait foraging
  • Stopping rules. [Behav Ecol 6: 258-268 (1995)]


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