Skip to main content

Metabolic rate and foraging efficiency

Cite this dataset

Cassano, Julian; Naug, Dhruba (2022). Metabolic rate and foraging efficiency [Dataset]. Dryad.


Metabolic rate is the rate at which organisms process energy and is often considered as the fundamental driver of life history processes. The link between metabolic rate and life history is critically mediated via foraging, which shapes the energy acquisition patterns of an individual. This predicts that individuals with different metabolic rates likely vary in their foraging strategies, although such a link has rarely been empirically investigated in the context of optimal foraging theory - a powerful framework for understanding how animals maximize their foraging returns. Many central place foragers such as honeybees maximize their energetic efficiency rather than the rate of energetic gain, given the critical role of energetic costs on foraging decisions. We therefore tested if individuals of low and high metabolic rates differ in efficiency maximization, using genetic lines of honeybees with different metabolic rates. Our results show that low metabolic rate foragers visit more flowers during a foraging trip and have a higher energetic efficiency than high metabolic rate foragers in both low and high resource conditions. We discuss the significance of these results in the context of division of labor and the adaptive role of phenotypic diversity in metabolic rate in a social insect colony.


National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka

Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research