Synopsis

Foragers rely on a variety of cognitive abilities to locate or store food items. From the simplest phototaxis to a cognitive map, mobile foragers need some form of spatial cognition. Foragers use external cues, such as beacons, gradients, and arrays of landmarks, to orient and to memorize the location of food sources. Different species, and even males and females ofa single species, may use different frames of reference for their spatial orientation. Scatter-hoarding species face the additional problem of creating and relocating hundreds or thousands of cache sites, which could explain observed species differences in performance on abstract and naturalistic tasks measuring spatial memory. Social learning can also help a forager locate food by observation or communication.

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