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Science Bulletins: On the Hunt for a Balanced Diet

Biologists had long assumed that predators were more concerned with the quantity of their food than the quality, but a recent study shows that nutritional value dictates how predatory ground beetles choose their prey. An international team of scientists led by University of Exeter and Oxford researchers collected more than 500 ground beetles in Denmark. One group of beetles was allowed to select from food sources with varying amounts of fat and protein, while the other group was given a fixed diet, where their choices were limited. The beetles that could choose their food freely made adjustments to their intake of fat and protein. The success of their selection was evident when they produced more eggs than the group on the diet with limited choices. The latest Bio Bulletin from the Museum’s Science Bulletins program examines the complex relationships between the hunter and the hunted in the wild. Visitors to AMNH may view the video in the Hall of Biodiversity until March 1, 2012.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Science Bulletins at http://www.amnh.org/sciencebulletins/.

Related Links

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Optimal foraging for specific nutrients in predatory beetles
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2012/01/04/rspb.2011.2410

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/

Natural Environment Research Council
http://www.nerc.ac.uk/

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