Cool Headed Individuals Are Better Survivors: Non-Consumptive and Consumptive Effects of a Generalist Predator on a Sap Feeding Insect.
ABSTRACT: Non-consumptive effects (NCEs) of predators are part of the complex interactions among insect natural enemies and prey. NCEs have been shown to significantly affect prey foraging and feeding. Leafhopper's (Auchenorrhyncha) lengthy phloem feeding bouts may play a role in pathogen transmission in vector species and also exposes them to predation risk. However, NCEs on leafhoppers have been scarcely studied, and we lack basic information about how anti-predator behaviour influences foraging and feeding in these species. Here we report a study on non-consumptive and consumptive predator-prey interactions in a naturally co-occurring spider-leafhopper system. In mesocosm arenas we studied movement patterns during foraging and feeding of the leafhopper Psammotettix alienus in the presence of the spider predator Tibellus oblongus. Leafhoppers delayed feeding and fed much less often when the spider was present. Foraging movement pattern changed under predation risk: movements became more frequent and brief. There was considerable individual variation in foraging movement activity. Those individuals that increased movement activity in the presence of predators exposed themselves to higher predation risk. However, surviving individuals exhibited a 'cool headed' reaction to spider presence by moving less than leafhoppers in control trials. No leafhoppers were preyed upon while feeding. We consider delayed feeding as a "paradoxical" antipredator tactic, since it is not necessarily an optimal strategy against a sit-and-wait generalist predator.
Project description:Animal populations are regulated by the combined effects of top-down, bottom-up and abiotic processes. Ecologists have struggled to isolate these mechanisms because their effects on prey behaviour, nutrition, security and fitness are often interrelated. We monitored how forage, non-consumptive effects (NCEs), consumptive predation and climatic conditions influenced the demography and nutritional state of a wild prey population during predator recolonization. Combined measures of nutrition, survival and population growth reveal that predators imposed strong effects on the prey population through interacting non-consumptive and consumptive effects, and forage mechanisms. Predation was directly responsible for adult survival, while declining recruitment was attributed to predation risk-sensitive foraging, manifested in poor female nutrition and juvenile recruitment. Substituting nutritional state into the recruitment model through a shared term reveals that predation risk-sensitive foraging was nearly twice as influential as summer forage conditions. Our findings provide a novel, mechanistic insight into the complex means by which predators and forage conditions affect prey populations, and point to a need for more ecological studies that integrate behaviour, nutrition and demography. This line of inquiry can provide further insight into how NCEs interactively contribute to the dynamics of terrestrial prey populations; particularly, how predation risk-sensitive foraging has the potential to stabilize predator-prey coexistence.
Project description:Predators shape prey populations by elimination of individuals (consumptive effects) and by inducing modifications in prey behaviour, physiology or morphology (NCE-non-consumptive effects). Due to the resource allocation to defence, decreased feeding and higher stress, the costs of predator NCEs can be considerable. Therefore, the resistance to NCEs may be crucial for population growth and interspecific competition. We tested the resistance of Ponto-Caspian gammarids Dikerogammarus villosus and Pontogammarus robustoides to NCEs imposed by their predator, the racer goby Babka gymnotrachelus. As D. villosus is often avoided by predators in the presence of alternative food, we hypothesised that it would bear lower behavioural and physiological costs of anti-predator responses. We tested gammarid feeding in short-time experiments (2-4 h) with food (chironomid larvae) located at various distances from the stony shelter (to enforce food searching, Experiment I) or in the direct gammarid proximity (no searching needed, Experiment II). Moreover, we checked the predator effect on gammarid growth in a 2-week Experiment III. Both gammarids exposed to predators reduced feeding efficiency outside the shelter (Experiment I). Contrary to our expectations, the response of D. villosus was stronger. When food was provided in their direct proximity (Experiment II), the feeding of both species was unaffected by predators, indicating that a shelter supplied with food can reduce predator NCEs. The growth of P. robustoides was reduced in the presence of predators (Experiment III), whereas that of D. villosus was unaffected. Although D. villosus has a more effective defence strategy than P. robustoides, it bears similar or even higher behavioural costs of NCEs. However, it exhibits the higher resistance to the long-term predator presence, sustaining its growth rate under such conditions. This may be one of the factors contributing to the great invasion success of D. villosus, currently taking place in European fresh waters.
Project description:Predators are known to have both consumptive and non-consumptive effects (NCEs) on their prey that can cascade to affect lower trophic levels. Non-consumptive interactions often drive these effects, though the majority of studies have been conducted in aquatic- or herbivory-based systems. Here, we use a laboratory study to examine how linkages between an above-ground predator and a detritivore influence below-ground properties. We demonstrate that predators can depress soil metabolism (i.e. CO2 flux) and soil nutrient content via both consumptive and non-consumptive interactions with detritivores, and that the strength of isolated NCEs is comparable to changes resulting from predation. Changes in detritivore abundance and activity in response to predators and the fear of predation likely mediate interactions with the soil microbe community. Our results underscore the need to explore these mechanisms at large scales, considering the disproportionate extinction risk faced by predators and the importance of soils in the global carbon cycle.
Project description:There is increasing evidence that top-down controls have strong non-consumptive effects on herbivore populations. However, little is known about how these non-consumptive effects relate to bottom-up influences. Using a series of field trials, we tested how changes in top-down and bottom-up controls at the within-plant scale interact to increase herbivore suppression. In the first experiment, we manipulated access of natural populations of predators (primarily lady beetles) to controlled numbers of A. glycines on upper (i.e. vigorous-growing) versus lower (i.e. slow-growing) soybean nodes and under contrasting plant ages. In a second experiment, we measured aphid dispersion in response to predation. Bottom-up and top-down controls had additive effects on A. glycines population growth. Plant age and within-plant quality had significant bottom-up effects on aphid size and population growth. However, top-down control was the dominant force suppressing aphid population growth, and completely counteracted bottom-up effects at the plant and within-plant scales. The intensity of predation was higher on upper than lower soybean nodes, and resulted in a non-consumptive reduction in aphid population growth because most of the surviving aphids were located on lower plant nodes, where rates of increase were reduced. No effects of predation on aphid dispersal among plants were detected, suggesting an absence of predator avoidance behavior by A. glycines. Our results revealed significant non-consumptive predator impacts on aphids due to the asymmetric intensity of predation at the within-plant scale, suggesting that low numbers of predators are highly effective at suppressing aphid populations.
Project description:Many studies have demonstrated that the nonconsumptive effect (NCE) of predators on prey traits can alter prey demographics in ways that are just as strong as the consumptive effect (CE) of predators. Less well studied, however, is how the CE and NCE of multiple predator species can interact to influence the combined effect of multiple predators on prey mortality. We examined the extent to which the NCE of one predator altered the CE of another predator on a shared prey and evaluated whether we can better predict the combined impact of multiple predators on prey when accounting for this influence. We conducted a set of experiments with larval dragonflies, adult newts (a known keystone predator), and their tadpole prey. We quantified the CE and NCE of each predator, the extent to which NCEs from one predator alters the CE of the second predator, and the combined effect of both predators on prey mortality. We then compared the combined effect of both predators on prey mortality to four predictive models. Dragonflies caused more tadpoles to hide under leaf litter (a NCE), where newts spend less time foraging, which reduced the foraging success (CE) of newts. Newts altered tadpole behavior but not in a way that altered the foraging success of dragonflies. Our study suggests that we can better predict the combined effect of multiple predators on prey when we incorporate the influence of interactions between the CE and NCE of multiple predators into a predictive model. In our case, the threat of predation to prey by one predator reduced the foraging efficiency of a keystone predator. Consequently, the ability of a predator to fill a keystone role could be compromised by the presence of other predators.
Project description:Most animals are faced with the challenge of securing food under the risk of predation. This frequently generates a trade-off whereby animals respond to predator cues with reduced movement to avoid predation at the direct cost of reduced foraging success. However, predators may also cause prey to be apprehensive in their foraging activities, which would generate an indirect 'apprehension cost'. Apprehension arises when a forager redirects attention from foraging tasks to predator detection and incurs a cost from such multi-tasking, because the forager ends up making more mistakes in its foraging tasks as a result. Here, we test this apprehension cost hypothesis and show that damselflies miss a greater proportion of their prey during foraging bouts in response to both olfactory cues produced by conspecifics that have only viewed a fish predator and olfactory cues produced directly by fish. This reduced feeding efficiency is in addition to the stereotypical anti-predator response of reduced activity, which we also observed. These results show that costs associated with anti-predator responses not only arise through behavioural alterations that reduce the risk of predation, but also from the indirect costs of apprehension and multi-tasking that can reduce feeding efficiency under the threat of predation.
Project description:Predators can impact their prey via consumptive effects that occur through direct killing, and via non-consumptive effects that arise when the behaviour and phenotypes of prey shift in response to the risk of predation. Although predators' consumptive effects can have cascading population-level effects on species at lower trophic levels there is less evidence that predators' non-consumptive effects propagate through ecosystems. Here we provide evidence that suppression of abundance and activity of a mesopredator (the feral cat) by an apex predator (the dingo) has positive effects on both abundance and foraging efficiency of a desert rodent. Then by manipulating predators' access to food patches we further the idea that apex predators provide small prey with refuge from predation by showing that rodents increased their habitat breadth and use of 'risky' food patches where an apex predator was common but mesopredators rare. Our study suggests that apex predators' suppressive effects on mesopredators extend to alleviate both mesopredators' consumptive and non-consumptive effects on prey.
Project description:Our traditional view of the interactions between marine organisms is conceptualized as food webs where species interact with one another mainly via direct consumption. However, recent research suggests that understudied non-consumptive interactions, such as behaviourally mediated indirect interactions (BMIIs), can influence marine ecosystems as much as consumptive effects. Here, we show, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence and quantification of bottom-up BMIIs in plankton food webs. We used observational, modelling and experimental approaches to investigate how behavioural responses to resource availability influence predation mortality on grazers with different foraging strategies (ambushing versus active foraging). A three-level food chain was used: phytoplankton as resource, copepod nauplii as grazers of phytoplankton and a large copepod as a predator. Ambushers showed little change in foraging activity with resource availability, whereas active foragers decreased their foraging activity with increasing resources, which led to a decrease (24-50%) in predation mortality. Therefore, an increase in resources ('initiator') causes behavioural changes in active grazers ('transmitter'), which ultimately negatively affects predator ('receiver') consumption rates. Consequently, increase in resource abundance may result in decreasing energy transfer to higher trophic levels. These results indicate that behaviourally mediated interactions drive marine food web dynamics differently from that predicted by only density-mediated or consumptive interactions.
Project description:Understanding the factors that influence predator-prey dynamics requires an investigation of oscillations in predator and prey population sizes over time. However, empirical studies are often performed over one or fewer predator generations. This is particularly true for studies addressing the non-consumptive effects of predators on prey. In a previous study that lasted less than one predator generation, we demonstrated that two species of parasitoid wasps additively suppressed aphid populations through a combination of consumptive and non-consumptive effects. However, the non-consumptive effects of one wasp reduced the reproductive success of the other, suggesting that a longer-term experiment may have revealed antagonism between the wasps. The goal of our current study is to evaluate multi-generation consumptive and non-consumptive interactions between pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) and the wasps Aphidius ervi and Aphidius colemani. Aphidius ervi is a common natural enemy of pea aphids. Aphidius colemani is a non-consumptive enemy that does not consume pea aphids, but negatively affects pea aphid performance through behavioral disturbance. Large field cages were installed to monitor aphid abundance in response to the presence and absence of both species of wasp over four weeks (two parasitoid generations). We found that the non-consumptive enemy A. colemani initially controlled the pea aphid population, but control in the absence of parasitism was not sustainable over the long term. Aphidius ervi suppressed pea aphids through a combination of consumptive and non-consumptive effects. This suppression was more effective than that of A. colemani, but aphid abundance fluctuated over time. Suppression by A. ervi and A. colemani together was complementary, leading to the most effective and stable control of pea aphids. Therefore, promoting a diverse natural enemy community that contributes to pest control through consumptive and non-consumptive interactions may enhance the stability of herbivore population suppression over time.
Project description:Due to their potential for affecting the modulation of behaviour, effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the environment are particularly interesting regarding interspecies interactions and non-consumptive effects (NCEs) induced by predator cues in prey organisms. We evaluated the effects of sertraline (0.4, 40?ng/L, 40?µg/L) over 8 days on activity and habitat choice in the freshwater snail Radix balthica, on snails' boldness in response to mechanical stimulation (simulating predator attack), and their activity/habitat choice in response to chemical cues from predatory fish. We hypothesised that sertraline exposure would detrimentally impact NCEs elicited by predator cues, increasing predation risk. Although there were no effects of sertraline on NCEs, there were observed effects of chemical cue from predatory fish on snail behaviour independent of sertraline exposure. Snails reduced their activity in which the percentage of active snails decreased by almost 50% after exposure to fish cue. Additionally, snails changed their habitat use by moving away from open (exposed) areas. The general lack of effects of sertraline on snails' activity and other behaviours in this study is interesting considering that other SSRIs have been shown to induce changes in gastropod behaviour. This raises questions on the modes of action of various SSRIs in gastropods, as well as the potential for a trophic "mismatch" of effects between fish predators and snail prey in aquatic systems.