, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 508-511

Predator-mediated apparent competition between two herbivores that feed on grapevines

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We have been releasing economically unimportant herbivorous mites of one species early in the season and protecting grapevines against another, more damaging herbivorous mite throughout the growing season. In this experiment, releases of economically unimportant Willamette mites alone, or of predatory mites alone, failed to reduce populations of the damaging Pacific spider mite. However, where both herbivorous Willamette mites and predatory mites were released together populations of Pacific mites were reduced. This interaction between effects of Willamette mites and predatory mites suggests that predation against Pacific mites was more effective where alternate prey (Willamette mites) were available for the predators. The “apparent competition” between Willamette mites and Pacific mites, mediated through their shared predator, can be an important force in the agroecosystem although its importance varies from year to year and vineyard to vineyard.