Oecologia

, Volume 85, Issue 4, pp 521–529 | Cite as

Mechanisms of intra-and interspecific interference between larval stoneflies

  • Barbara L. Peckarsky
Original Papers

Summary

Behavior of focal individuals of two potentially competing sympatric stonefly species, Megarcys signata and Kogotus modestus (Perlodidae), was videotaped in flow-through plexiglass arenas placed in the East River, Gunnison County, Colorado. Focal individuals were observed alone and in pairs with conspecifics and allospecifics at four prey (Baetis bicaudatus, Baetidae, Ephemeroptera) densities to determine whether competitors and prey resource levels affected prey capture rates. Presence of conspecific or allospecific competitors reduced stonefly prey capture rates, especially for Kogotus, the smaller of the two species, due to a significant decline in predator-prey encounter rates with competitors present. This competitive effect was not observed at the lowest and highest prey densities due to very low or very high predator-prey encounter rates, respectively. Thus, interference affected feeding rates only at intermediate prey densities. Competitors had no effect on the probability of attacks per prey encounter or capture success per attack. Within each stonefly species the effects of intra-and interspecific interference on feeding rates were similar, even though behavioral responses by both stoneflies to interspecific encounters were more frequent than to encounters with conspecifics. Kogotus showed the highest levels of response to encounters with other stoneflies, maintaining those high levels of response to Megarcys over all prey densities. Further, male Kogotus, which are the smaller sex, responded more frequently to competitive interactions than did females. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that interspecific interference was asymmetrical with Megarcys, the larger species, being the superior competitor.

Key words

Competition Encounter rates Interference Stonefly larvae Streams 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allan JD (1982) Feeding habits and prey consumption of three setipalpian stoneflies (Plecoptera) in a mountain stream. Ecology 63: 26–34Google Scholar
  2. Anholt BR (1990) An experimental separation of interference and exploitative competition in a larval damselfly. Ecology 71: 1483–1493Google Scholar
  3. Baker RL (1981) Behavioural interactions and use of feeding areas by nymphs of Coenagrion resolutum (Coenagrionidae: Odonata). Oecologia (Berlin) 49: 353–358Google Scholar
  4. Baker RL (1983) Spacing behaviour by larval Ischnura cervula Selys: effects of hunger, previous interactions, and familiarity with an area (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Odonatologica 12: 201–207Google Scholar
  5. Blois C (1988) Spatial distribution and interactions between Anax imperator Leech larvae at different developmental stages (Anisoptera: Aeshnidae). Odonatologica 17: 85–98Google Scholar
  6. Buss LW (1979) Bryozoan overgrowth interactions — the interdependence of competition for space and food. Nature 281: 475–477Google Scholar
  7. Connell JH (1983) On the prevalence and relative importance of interspecific competition: evidence from field experiments. Am Midl Natur 122: 661–696Google Scholar
  8. Convey P (1988) Competition for perches between larval damselflies: the influence of perch use on feeding efficiency, growth rate and predator avoidance. Freshwat Biol 19: 15–28Google Scholar
  9. Cooper SD, Walde SJ, Peckarsky BL (1990) Prey exchange rates and the impact of predators on prey populations in streams. Ecology 71: 1503–1514Google Scholar
  10. Crowley PH, Nisbet RM, Gurney WSC, Lawton JH (1987) Intraspecific interference among larvae in a semivoltine dragonfly population. Oecologia (Berlin) 71: 447–456Google Scholar
  11. Crowley PH, Gillett S, Lawton JH (1988) Contests between larval damselflies: empirical steps toward a better ESS model. Anim Behav 36: 1496–1510Google Scholar
  12. Crowley PH, martin EK (1989) Functional response and interference within and between year classes of a dragonfly population. J N Am Benthol Soc 8: 211–221Google Scholar
  13. Erlandsson A, Malmqvist B, Andersson KG, Herrmann J, Sjöström P (1988) Field observations on the activities of a group-living semiaquatic bug Velia caprai. Arch Hydrobiol 112: 411–19Google Scholar
  14. Eymann M, Friend WG (1988) Behaviors of larvae of the blackflies Simulium vittatum and S. decorum (Diptera: Simuliidae) associated with establishing and maintaining dispersion patterns on natural and artificial substrates. J Insect Behav 1: 169–186Google Scholar
  15. Gause GF (1934) The struggle for existence. Hafner, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Hart DD (1985) Causes and consequences of territoriality in a grazing stream insect. Ecology 66: 404–414Google Scholar
  17. Hart DD (1986) The adaptive significance of territoriality in filterfeeding larval black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae). Oikos 46: 88–92Google Scholar
  18. Hart DD (1987) Experimental studies of exploitative competition in a grazing stream insect. Oecologia 73: 41–47Google Scholar
  19. Harvey IF, Corbet PS (1986) Territorial interactions between larvae of the dragonfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula: outcome of encounters. Anim Behav 34: 1550–1561Google Scholar
  20. Hildrew AG, Townsend CR (1980) Aggregation, interference and foraging by larvae of Plectrocnemia conspersa (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae). Anim Behav 28: 553–560Google Scholar
  21. Hubbard SE, O'Malley SLC, Russo R (1988) The functional response of Toxorhynchites rutilus rutilus to changes in the population density of its prey Aedes aegypti. Med Vet Entomol 2: 279–283Google Scholar
  22. Jansson A, Vuoristo T (1979) Significance of stridulation in larval Hydropsychidae (Trichoptera). Behav 71: 167–186Google Scholar
  23. Lawton JH, Hassell MP (1981) Asymmetrical competition in inseets. Nature (London) 793–796Google Scholar
  24. MacArthur RH, Levins R (1967) The limiting similarity, convergence and divergence of coexisting species. Am Nat 101: 377–385Google Scholar
  25. Martinez LA (1987) Sensory mechanisms underlying the predatorprey interaction between perlodid stonefly nymphs and their mayfly nymph prey. Ph.D. Dissertation. 207 ppGoogle Scholar
  26. McAuliffe JM (1984) Resource depression by a stream herbivore: effects on distributions and abundances of other grazers. Oikos 42: 327–333Google Scholar
  27. McPeek MA, Crowley PH (1987) The effects of density and relative size on the aggressive behaviour, movement and feeding of damselfly larvae (Odonata: Coenagrionidae). Anim Behav 35: 1051–1061Google Scholar
  28. Morin PJ, Johnson EA (1988) Experimental studies of asymmetric competition among anurans. Oikos 53: 398–407Google Scholar
  29. Pajunen VI (1982d) The effect of age-dependent interference on larval development in Callicorixa producta (Reut.) (Hemiptera, Corixidae). Ann Zool Fenn 19: 221–224Google Scholar
  30. Pajunen VI (1982b) Replacement analysis of non-equilibrium competition between rock pool corixids (Hemiptera, Corixidae). Oecologia 52: 153–155Google Scholar
  31. Peckarsky BL (1980) Predator-prey interactions between stoneflies and mayflies: behavioral observations. Ecology 61: 932–943Google Scholar
  32. Peckarsky BL (1985) Do predaceous stoneflies and siltation affect the structure of stream insect communities colonizing enclosures? Can J Zool 63: 1519–1530Google Scholar
  33. Peckarsky BL (1988) Why predaceous stoneflies do not aggregate with their prey. Verh Int Verein Limnol 23: 2135–2140Google Scholar
  34. Peckarsky BL (1991) A field test of resource depression by predator stonefly larvae. Oikos (in press)Google Scholar
  35. Peckarsky BL, Dodson SI (1980) Do stonefly predators influence benthic distributions in streams? Ecology 61: 1275–1282Google Scholar
  36. Peckarsky BL, Penton MA (1985) Is predaceous stonefly behavior affected by competition? Ecology 66: 1718–1728Google Scholar
  37. Peckarsky BL, Penton MA (1989) Mechanisms of prey selection by stream-dwelling stoneflies. Ecology 70: 1203–1218Google Scholar
  38. Peckarsky BL, Wilcox RS (1989) Stonefly nymphs use hydrodynamic cues to discriminate between prey. Oecologia 54: 301–309Google Scholar
  39. Peterson CH, Andre SV (1980) An experimental analysis of interspecific competition among marine filter feeders in a soft-sediment environment. Ecology 61: 129–139Google Scholar
  40. Rowe RJ (1980) Territorial behavior of a larval dragonfly Xanthocnemis zealandica (McLachlan) (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Odonatologica 9: 285–292Google Scholar
  41. Rowe RJ (1985) Interspecific interactions of New Zealand damselfly larvae I. Xanthocnemis zealandica, Ischnura aurora, and Austrolestes colensonis (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae: Lestidae). New Zealand J Zool 12: 1–15Google Scholar
  42. Schoener TW (1983) Field experiments on interspecific competition. Am Nat 122: 240–285Google Scholar
  43. Sih A (1983) Stability, prey density and age/dependent interference in an aquatic insect predator, Notonecta hoffmanni. J Anim Ecol 50: 625–636Google Scholar
  44. Sjöström P (1985) Territoriality in nymphs of Dinocras cephalotes (Plecoptera). Oikos 45: 351–357Google Scholar
  45. Soluk DA, Collins NC (1988) A mechanism for interference between stream predators: responses of the stonefly Agnetina capitata to the presence of sculpins. Oecologia 76: 630–632Google Scholar
  46. Tilman D (1987) The importance of the mechanisms of interspecific competition. Am Nat 129: 769–774Google Scholar
  47. Vance RR (1984) Interference competition and the coexistence of two competitors on a single limited resource. Ecology 65: 1349–1357Google Scholar
  48. Walde SJ, Davies RW (1984) The effect of intraspecific interference on Kogotus nonus (Plecoptera) foraging behavior. Can J Zool 62: 2221–2226Google Scholar
  49. wiens JA (1977) Competition in variable environments. Amer Sci 65: 590–597Google Scholar
  50. Wilcox RS, Ruckdeschel T (1982) Food threshold territoriality in a water strider (Gerris remigis). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 11: 85–90Google Scholar
  51. Wilson DS, Leighton M, Leighton DR (1978) Interference competition in a tropical ripple bug (Hemiptera: Veliidae). Biotropica 10: 302–306Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara L. Peckarsky
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Rocky Mountain Biological LaboratoryCrested ButteUSA

Personalised recommendations