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Abstract

We examined to what extent 15 chipmunks foraging from dishes in the field varied load sizes depending on a predetermined sequence of resource renewal/removal. At 10-m distances from burrows, chipmunks collected smaller loads when seeds were replenished over sequential trials and larger load sizes when trials were interrupted by removing all seeds for one visit. Similar sequence effects were less obvious at 0 m. Load size also varied with travel time but not in a manner consistent with either long-term rate maximization or resource tracking. When travel time effects were removed, sequence effects became more pronounced at distances of both 0 and 10 m. The results suggest that chipmunks use past experience in patches to gauge expected returns in the future, and that they devalue resources according to their uncertainty (“future discounting”). That chipmunks varied load sizes with food renewal/removal more at 10 than 0 m from burrows suggests that the degree to which chipmunks devalue future resources may depend on how defendable those resources are.