Identifying the amount of prey available is an important part of an animal's foraging behaviour. The risk-sensitive foraging theory predicts that an organism's foraging decisions with regard to food rewards depending upon its satiation level. However, the precise interaction between optimal risk-tolerance and satiation level remains unclear. In this study, we examined, firstly, whether cuttlefish, with one of the most highly evolved nervous system among the invertebrates, have number sense, and secondly, whether their valuation of food reward is satiation state dependent. When food such as live shrimps is present, without training, cuttlefish turn toward the prey and initiate seizure behaviour. Using this visual attack behaviour as a measure, cuttlefish showed a preference for a larger quantity when faced with two-alternative forced choice tasks (1 versus 2, 2 versus 3, 3 versus 4 and 4 versus 5). However, cuttlefish preferred the small quantity when the choice was between one live and two dead shrimps. More importantly, when the choice was between one large live shrimp and two small live shrimps (a prey size and quantity trade-off), the cuttlefish chose the large single shrimp when they felt hunger, but chose the two smaller prey when they were satiated. These results demonstrate that cuttlefish are capable of number discrimination and that their choice of prey number depends on the quality of the prey and on their appetite state. The findings also suggest that cuttlefish integrate both internal and external information when making a foraging decision and that the cost of obtaining food is inversely correlated with their satiation level, a phenomenon similar to the observation that metabolic state alters economic decision making under risk among humans.
- Received June 17, 2016.
- Accepted July 29, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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