Effects of large Saduria entomon on spatial distribution of their small S entomon and Monoporeia affinis prey

Sparrevik, E.; Leonardsson, K.

Oecologia (Berlin) 101(2): 177-184


ISSN/ISBN: 0029-8549
Accession: 031165140

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We performed laboratory experiments to investigate the effects of predator avoidance and numerical effects of predation on spatial distribution of small Saduria entomon (Isopoda) and Monoporeia affinis (Amphipoda), with large S. entomon as predators. The horizontal distribution and mortality of the prey species, separately and together, were studied in aquaria with a spatial horizontal refuge. We also estimated effects of refuge on mortality of small S. entomon and M. affinis by experiments without the refuge net. In addition, we investigated whether predation risk from large S. entomon influenced the swimming activity of M. affinis, to clarify the mechanisms behind the spatial distribution. Both small S. entomon and M. affinis avoided large S. entomon. The avoidance behaviour of M. affinis contributed about 10 times more to the high proportion in the refuge than numerical effects of predation. Due to the low mortality of small S. entomon the avoidance behaviour of this species was even more important for the spatial distribution. The combined effect of avoidance behaviour and predation in both species was aggregation, producing a positive correlation between the species in density. M. affinis showed two types of avoidance behaviour. In the activity experiments they reduced activity by 36% and buried themselves in the sediment. In the refuge experiments we also observed avoidance behaviour with the emigration rate from the predator compartment being twice the immigration rate. The refuge did not lower predation mortality in M. affinis, probably due to the small scale of the experimental units in relation to the mobility of the species. Predation mortality in small S. entomon was higher in absence of a refuge and especially high in absence of M. affinis.