Efficiency evaluation of two competing foraging modes under different conditions

Inon Scharf*, Einat Nulman, Ofer Ovadia, Amos Bouskila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various foraging modes are employed by predators in nature, ranging from ambush to active predation. Although the foraging mode may be limited by physiological constraints, other factors, such as prey behavior and distribution, may come into play. Using a simulation model, we tested to what extent the relative success of an ambush and an active predator changes as a function of the relative velocity and movement directionality of prey and active predator. In accordance with previous studies, we found that when both active predator and prey use nondirectional movement, the active mode is advantageous. However, as movement becomes more directional, this advantage diminishes gradually to 0. Previous theoretical studies assumed that animal movement is nondirectional; however, recent field observations show that in fact animal movement usually has some component of directionality. We therefore suggest that our simulation is a better predictor of encounter rates than previous studies. Furthermore, we show that as long as the active predator cannot move faster than its prey, it has little or no advantage over the ambush predator. However, as the active predator's velocity increases, its advantage increases sharply.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Foraging modes
  • Movement directionality
  • Predator-prey interactions
  • Searching behavior


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