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Experimental studies on acarine predator-prey interactions: the effects of predator density on prey consumption, predator searching efficiency, and the functional response to prey density






Canadian Journal of Zoology, 604: 611-629

Experimental studies on acarine predator-prey interactions: the effects of predator density on prey consumption, predator searching efficiency, and the functional response to prey density

Experiments on the responses of 2 spp. of predacious phytoseiid mites, Phytoseiulus persimilis and Ambylseius degenerans, to their own density revealed that, with the exception of adult female P. persimilis, the individual predation rates of all instars of both species increased as predator and prey densities were increased within certain fixed predator to prey ratios. Interference between adult female P. persimilis was suggested as a possible reason for this result, and this was confirmed by the application of Hassell and Varley's model to data from an experiment where predator density was increased within various prey densities. Interference did not influence the predation rates for other instars of either species and other factors are considered to account for the results obtained. Increasing predator density caused the functional response of all instars of both species to increase over an increasingly wider range of prey densities. Due to interference between adult female P. persimilis the functional response curves increased curvilinearly and reached plateaus at progressively lower levels of prey killed per predator as predator density increased. With the other instars of both species the responses became less curvilinear with increasing predator density, and trends in the data suggested that plateaus would be reached at similar levels of prey killed for different predator densities provided sufficient prey are present.

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Accession: 021011119



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