The behavioral ecology of nectar robbing: why be tactic constant?

Judith L. Bronstein, Jessica L. Barker, Elinor M. Lichtenberg, Leif L. Richardson, Rebecca E. Irwin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


How do animals forage for variable food resources? For animals foraging at flowers, floral constancy has provided a framework for understanding why organisms visit some flowers while bypassing others. We extend this framework to the flower-handling tactics that visitors employ. Nectar robbers remove nectar through holes bitten in flowers, often without pollinating. Many foragers can switch between robbing and visiting flowers legitimately to gain access to nectar. We document that even though individuals can switch foraging tactics, they often do not. We explore whether individuals exhibit constancy to either robbing or visiting legitimately, which we term tactic constancy. We then extend hypotheses of floral constancy to understand when and why visitors exhibit tactic constancy and raise questions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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