Saltatory search: A theoretical analysis

J. P. Anderson, D. W. Stephens, S. R. Dunbar

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41 Scopus citations


Many animals search in a saltatory fashion: they move forward, pause briefly, and move forward again. Although many optimal-foraging models bare been developed, most do not address how an animal searches for food. We view search strategies as 'time-distance' functions to allow not only for the possibility of oscillations in body speed, as implied by saltatory search, but other movement patterns as well, including cruise search. The key feature of our models is distinguishing between the body position and the scan position (where the forager is looking). We see the varying movement of saltatory search as a consequence of the curvature in the functions that relate body speed to benefits (Jensen's inequality).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank William Beachly, Kari Benson, Kevin dements, Tom Getty, and one anonymous reviewer for their advice and comment!. This work was supported by a National Sdence Foundation (NSF)/Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grant to the Nebraska Behavioral Biology Group and NFS grant BNS-8958228 to D.W.S.


  • Blue jay
  • Crypticity
  • Foraging
  • Optimality models
  • Saltatory search


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