Interactions among and within three species of predators were estimated in terms of their effects on prey survival using short-term predation experiments. The prey were tadpoles (Rana temporaria), and the predators were dragonfly larvae (Anax imperator), newts (Triturus alpestris), and backswimmers (Notonecta glauca). Mortality rate per predator imposed by Triturus and Notonecta did not decline with predator density, whereas the predation rate of Anax was strongly reduced when the number of predator individuals increased. Impacts of all three predators were not altered by the presence of other species in pairwise combinations. This system is therefore characterized by interference between individual dragonflies but relatively independent effects of predator species. These results were largely predictable based on the natural history of the predators and are encouraging for attempts to model communities as assemblages of interacting species.
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Many thanks to Ross Alford, Craig Osenberg, and Heinz-Ulrich Reyer for constructive comments on the manuscript, to Jasmin Winkler for help with the experiments, and to the Swiss National Science Foundation for financial support (31003A-113807).
Communicated by Ross Alford.
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Ramos, O., Van Buskirk, J. Non-interactive multiple predator effects on tadpole survival. Oecologia 169, 535–539 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-011-2208-5
- Multiple predator species
- Additive effects
- Emergent effects
- Density dependence