Optimal migration strategies in animals that run: a range equation and its consequences
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Optimal migration theory depends to a large extent on the range equation, that is, a function relating potential distance moved to fuel load. Such range equations derived from aerodynamic principles exist for birds. I derive an analogous range equation for animals that run based on biomechanical principles. The range for animals that run is proportional to ln(1/+f), where f is the relative fuel load at departure and relates the mass at departure (m) to the lean mass (m(o)) as m=(1+f) m(o). Predictions pertaining to migration decisions, such as optimal stopover duration, fuel load and detours around barriers, can thereby be made for animals other than birds. I hope this paper will stimulate further experimental tests regarding migration decisions in suitable animal systems.