Spatial density-dependent survival and development at different larval stages of the tiger beetle Cicindela japonica (Thunberg)
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Conspecific competition is an important component of the ecological processes of many species. In the case of sessile consumers, high population densities lead to competition within conspecific populations that, in turn, affect the survival, growth, and reproduction of the individuals involved. This study quantified neighborhood crowding and evaluated the extent of density effects on a tiger beetle (Cicindela japonica Thunberg) population by monitoring individually identified larvae at regular intervals. As an index of conspecific competition, the neighborhood density (the number of other larvae within a given radius for each larva) of each individual was measured. The radius size representing the highest mean coefficient of variation of density was determined as a suitable scale for detecting the density effects. Multiple logistic regression analysis was carried out to evaluate the effects of three factors (neighborhood density, prey abundance, and environmental influences) on larval survival and development. The analysis revealed that the neighborhood density significantly influenced the survival and development of larvae through every larval stage from the first to the third-instars. Moreover, the neighborhood density had a stronger influence on larvae of the same instar as compared to that on those of different instars. Our results suggest that density-dependent mortality affects the tiger beetle larvae due to the lifestyle pattern of these sedentary, ambushing predators that exhibit an aggregated spatial distribution.
KeywordsCicindela japonica Tiger beetle Conspecific competition Density-dependent mortality Neighborhood crowding Spatial distribution
We are grateful to T. Sota, K. Watanabe, Y. Takami, A. Satoh, M. Sasabe, and other members of the Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Japan, for their valuable and critical comments on the various drafts of this paper. Early versions of the manuscript were greatly improved by the comments of T. Saitoh and the two anonymous reviewers. We further thank the staff of the Kamigamo Experimental Station, Field Science and Research Center, Kyoto University, Japan, for their kind support of our research. This paper was supported by a Grant for the Biodiversity Research of the 21st Century COE (A14).
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