Physiological mechanisms for food-hoarding motivation in animals

Erin Keen-Rhinehart, Megan J. Dailey, Timothy Bartness

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The study of ingestive behaviour has an extensive history, starting as early as 1918 when Wallace Craig, an animal behaviourist, coined the terms 'appetitive' and 'consummatory' for the two-part sequence of eating, drinking and sexual behaviours. Since then, most ingestive behaviour research has focused on the neuroendocrine control of food ingestion (consummatory behaviour). The quantity of food eaten, however, is also influenced by the drive both to acquire and to store food (appetitive behaviour). For example, hamster species have a natural proclivity to hoard food and preferentially alter appetitive ingestive behaviours in response to environmental changes and/or metabolic hormones and neuropeptides, whereas other species would instead primarily increase their food intake. Therefore, with the strong appetitive component to their ingestive behaviour that is relatively separate from their consummatory behaviour, they seem an ideal model for elucidating the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying the control of food hoarding and foraging. This review focuses on the appetitive side of ingestive behaviour, in particular food hoarding, attempting to integrate what is known about the neuroendocrine mechanisms regulating this relatively poorly studied behaviour. An hypothesis is formed stating that the direction of 'energy flux' is a unifying factor for the control of food hoarding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-975
Number of pages15
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1542
StatePublished - Mar 27 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Appetitive behaviour, food intake, foraging
  • Energy balance
  • Hoarding
  • Ingestive behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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