, Volume 98, Issue 3-4, pp 269-273

Short-term responses to elevated predator densities: noncompetitive intraguild interactions and behavior

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Abstract

We investigated the short-term response of an arthropod assemblage to elevated generalist predator densities by introducing Chinese mantids (Tenodera sinensis) to field plots in a replicated, controlled experiment. Abundances of carnivorous arthropods were reduced by mantids to a greater extent than herbivores, and cursorial spiders emigrated from treatment plots in greater numbers than from controls. Initially, this emigration consisted only of small spiders that were demonstrated in the laboratory to be prey for mantids. Thus, the initial response of an arthropod assemblage to increased predators, densities was increased interactions among predators, which caused decline in predator population densities in a shorter time than competition for prey would require. Predator avoidance behavior must be considered together with intraguild predation and competition when interpreting the outcome of predator manipulations. Shortterm experiments may be more valuable than longer term studies in detecting this effect.