, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 417–421

Predator: non-predator ratios in beetle assemblages

  • Kevin J. Gaston
  • Philip H. Warren
  • Peter M. Hammond
Original Papers


In common with samples from less taxonomically constrained studies, significant correlations exist between the numbers of predatory and non-predatory species in assemblages of terrestrial beetles. Under logarithmic transformation the relationship can be described reasonably well by a straight line. Explanations for predator: non-predator relationships based on the dynamics of trophic interactions (e.g. competition for prey types or enemy-free space) seem insufficient to explain this pattern, because within beetle assemblages the necessary interactions are so few. Of other proposed determinants, those based on the relationship of local and regional species pools, on energetics, or on non-trophic factors seem the most plausible candidates for explaining proportionality amongst beetles. Much of the deviation from the overall pattern can be accounted for by sampling method and latitude. Temperate samples have a higher proportion of predatory species than tropical, whilst litter and pitfall trap samples have higher proportions of predatory species than Malaise trap and fogging samples.

Key words

Coleoptera Predator-prey ratios Trophic structure 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin J. Gaston
    • 1
  • Philip H. Warren
    • 2
  • Peter M. Hammond
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyThe Natural History MuseumLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Animal and Plant SciencesThe University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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