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Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 155, Issue 1, pp 219–223 | Cite as

Intensive nest predation by crabs produces source–sink dynamics in hosts and parasites

  • Canchao Yang
  • Anders Pape Møller
  • Zhijun Ma
  • Feng Li
  • Wei Liang
Original Article

Abstract

Nest predation is a common cause of reproductive failure. Here, we show for the first time unusually high rates of nest predation on eggs and chicks in nests of the Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis and the brood parasitic Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus caused by mudflat crabs Chiromantes dehaani. Crabs and the Common Cuckoo greatly reduce reproductive success of hosts at a site in coastal habitat, but only Common Cuckoos did so at an inland habitat. Thus, the parasitic Common Cuckoo suffered an indirect high predation cost by using bird species affected by crabs as hosts. The difference in the relationship between mudflat crabs, cuckoos and hosts between these two habitats can be explained by the source–sink dynamics of an ecological trap. The coastal habitats constitute sink populations for both host and brood parasite, while inland habitats with cuckoos only constitute sink populations for hosts. Because the population densities of both hosts and parasites are similar in the two kinds of habitats, these similarities might be maintained by immigration from source populations such as those without mudflat crabs and Common Cuckoos, respectively.

Keywords

Crab predation Cuckoo–host interactions Source–sink dynamics 

Zusammenfassung

Starke Nestprädation durch Krabben führt zu einer Source–Sink-Dynamik bei Wirtsvögeln und Brutparasiten

Nestprädation ist eine häufige Ursache für ausbleibenden Reproduktionserfolg. Hier belegen wir zum ersten Mal ungewöhnlich hohe Raten von Prädation an Eiern und Küken in Nestern des Chinarohrsängers Acrocephalus orientalis und seines Brutparasiten, dem Kuckuck Cuculus canorus, durch die Japanische Flusskrabbe Chiromantes dehaani. In Habitaten an der Küste verringern sowohl die Krabben als auch die Kuckucke deutlich den Reproduktionserfolg der Wirtsart; in Binnenlandhabitaten waren dies nur die Kuckucke. Somit unterliegt der brutparasitische Kuckuck indirekt hohen Prädationskosten, da er Wirtsvogelarten nutzt, welche von Krabben beeinträchtigt werden. Die Unterschiede im Beziehungsgeflecht von Flusskrabben, Kuckucken und Wirtsvögeln zwischen diesen beiden Habitattypen lassen sich durch die Source–Sink-Dynamik einer ökologischen Falle erklären. Die Küstenhabitate stellen sowohl für den Wirt als auch für den Parasiten eine Besiedlungssenke (Sink-Population) dar, wohingegen die Inlandhabitate mit Kuckucken nur für die Wirtsvogelart Besiedlungssenken repräsentieren. Da die Populationsdichten sich sowohl für die Wirtsart als auch für den Brutparasiten in beiden Habitattypen ähneln, werden diese Ähnlichkeiten vermutlich durch Zuwanderung aus Besiedlungsquellen (Source-Populationen), zum Beispiel Populationen ohne Flusskrabben beziehungsweise Kuckucke, aufrechterhalten.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31071938 and 31272328 to W.L., 31101646 and 31260514 to C.Y., and 31071940 to F.L.), Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-10-0111 to W.L.), Key Project of Chinese Ministry of Education (No. 212136 to C.Y.), and Program of International S&T Cooperation (No. KJHZ2013-12 to C.Y.). We thank two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments, which helped us greatly improve this manuscript. We also thank G. Liang, L. Wang, Q. Huang, S. Li and M. Chen for their assistance in the fieldwork, and the help and cooperation from Zhalong and Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserves.

Ethical standards

The experiments comply with the current laws of China in which they were performed. Experimental procedures were in agreement with the Animal Research Ethics Committee of Hainan Provincial Education Centre for Ecology and Environment, Hainan Normal University.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 1487 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MP4 4256 kb)

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Canchao Yang
    • 1
  • Anders Pape Møller
    • 2
  • Zhijun Ma
    • 3
  • Feng Li
    • 4
  • Wei Liang
    • 1
  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Tropical Plant and Animal Ecology, College of Life SciencesHainan Normal UniversityHaikouChina
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079Université Paris-SudOrsay CedexFrance
  3. 3.Coastal Ecosystems Research Station of Yangtze River Estuary, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, School of Life SciencesFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.College of Wildlife ResourcesNortheast Forestry UniversityHarbinChina

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