Oecologia

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 231–235 | Cite as

Invertebrate predator-prey body size relationships: an explanation for upper triangular food webs and patterns in food web structure?

  • P. H. Warren
  • J. H. Lawton
Original Papers

Summary

It has been suggested by Cohen and Newman (1985) that many of the patterns in published food webs can be derived from a stochastic model in which the species are arranged in a trophic hierarchy (the ‘cascade model’). We suggest that, if predators are larger than their prey, a trophic hierarchy can be generated on the basis of body size Empirical evidence from the literature shows that there is a positive relationship between predator and prey size for a range of invertebrates and that predators are usually larger than their prey. Using experimental data on an aquatic food web we show that body size can lead to the type of trophic hierarchy used in the cascade model, suggesting that many food web patterns may be a product of body size. This conclusion is discussed with respect to the limitations of the food web data and the relationship between ‘static’ and ‘dynamic’ models of web structure.

Key words

Food webs Cascade model Body size 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Auerbach MJ (1984) Stability, probability and the topology of food webs. In: Strong DR, Simberloff D, Abele LG, Thistle AB (eds) Ecological Communities, Conceptual Issues and the Evidence, Princetown University Press, Princetown, N.J., pp 413–436Google Scholar
  2. Blois C (1985) The larval diet of three anisopteran (Odonata) species. Freshwater Biol 15:505–514Google Scholar
  3. Briand F, Cohen JE (1984) Community food webs have a scale invariant structure, Nature 307:264–267Google Scholar
  4. Burns CW (1968) The relationship between body sizes of filter feeding Cladocera and maximum size of particles ingested. Limnol Oceanogr 13:675–678Google Scholar
  5. Cohen JE (1978) Food webs and Niche Space. Princetown University Press, Princetown N.J.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen JE, Briand F (1984) Trophic links of community food webs. Proc Natn Acad Sci USA 81:4105–4109Google Scholar
  7. Cohen JE, Newman CM (1985) A stochastic theory of community food webs I. Models and aggregated data. Proc R Soc Lond B 224:421–448Google Scholar
  8. Cohen JE, Newman CM, Briand F (1985) A stochastic theory of community food webs II. Individual webs. Proc R Soc Lond B 224:449–461Google Scholar
  9. Cohen JE, Briand F, Newman CM (1986) A stochastic theory of community food webs III. Predicted and observed lengths of food chains. Proc R Soc Lond B 228:317–353Google Scholar
  10. Cousins SH (1980) A trophic continuum derived from plant structure animal size and a detritus cascade. J Theor Biol 82:607–618Google Scholar
  11. DeAngelis DL, Post WM, Sugihara G (1983) Current Trends in Food Web Theory Report on a Food Web Workshop. Oak Ridge National Laboratory ORNL-5983, Oak Ridge.Google Scholar
  12. Dodson SI (1975) Predation rates of zooplankton in Arctic ponds. Limnol Oceanogr 20:426–433Google Scholar
  13. Elton C (1927) Animal Ecology. Sidgewick and Jackson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Enders F (1975) The influence of hunting manner on prey size, particularly in spiders with long attack distances (Araneidae, Linyphiidae and Salticidae). Am Nat 109:737–763Google Scholar
  15. Evans HF (1976) The role of predator-prey size ratio in determining the efficiency of capture by Anthocoris nemorum and the escape reactions of its prey Acyrthosiphon pisum. Ecol Entomol 1:85–90Google Scholar
  16. Feminella JW, Stewart KW (1986) Diet and predation by three leaf associated stoneflies (Plecoptera) in an Arkansas mountain stream. Freshwater Biol 16:521–538Google Scholar
  17. Gittleman JL (1985) Carnivore body size: ecological and taxonomic correlates. Oecologia (Berlin) 67:540–544Google Scholar
  18. Griffiths D (1980) (a) The fecding biology of ant-lion larvae: prey capture, handling and utilisation. J Anim Ecol 49:99–125Google Scholar
  19. Griffiths D (1980) (b) Foraging costs and relative prey size. Am Nat 116:743–752Google Scholar
  20. Harris GP (1985) The answer lies in the nesting behaviour. Freshwater Biol 15:375–380Google Scholar
  21. Hespenheide HA (1973) Ecological inferences from morphological data. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 4:213–229Google Scholar
  22. Hughes RN, Elner RW (1979) Tactics of a predator, Carcinus maenas and morphological responses of the prey Nucella lapillus. J Anim Ecol 48:65–79Google Scholar
  23. Jeffries MJ, Lawton JH, (1985) Predator-prey ratios in communities of freshwater invertebrates: the role of enemy free space. Freshwater Biol 15:105–112Google Scholar
  24. Koslucher DG, Minshall GW (1973) Food habits of some benthic invertebrates in a northern cool desert stream (Deep Creek, Curlew Valley, Idaho-Utah). Trans Amer Microscopical Soc 92:441–452Google Scholar
  25. Lawton JH (1969) Studies on the ecological energetics of damselfly larvae (Odonata: Zygoptera). Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Durham, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  26. Li JL, Li HW (1979) Species specific factors affecting predator prey interactions of the copepod Acanthocyclops vernalis with its natural prey. Limnol Oceanogr 24:613–626Google Scholar
  27. Maly EJ (1976) Resource overlaps between co-occuring copepods: effects of predation and environmental fluctuation. Can J Zool 54:933–940Google Scholar
  28. May RM (1973) Stability and complexity in model ecosystems. Princetown University Press, Princetown N.JGoogle Scholar
  29. May RM (1983) The structure of food webs. Nature 301:566–568Google Scholar
  30. May RM (1986) The search for patterns in the balance of nature: advances and retreats. Ecology 67:1115–1126Google Scholar
  31. McArdle BH, Lawton JH (1979) Effects of prey size and predator instar on the predation of Daphnia by Notonecta. Ecol Entomol 4:267–75Google Scholar
  32. Mithen SJ, Lawton JH (1986) Food web models that generate constant predator-prey ratios. Oecologia (Berlin) 69:542–550Google Scholar
  33. Murtaugh PA (1981) Size selective predation on Daphnia by Neomysis mercedis. Ecology 62:894–900Google Scholar
  34. Nentwig W, Wissel C (1986) A comparison of prey lengths among spiders. Oecologia (Berlin) 68:595–600Google Scholar
  35. Paine RT (1963) Feeding rate of a predaceous gastropod Pleuroploca gigantea Ecology 44:402–403Google Scholar
  36. Paine RT (1976) Size limited predation: an observational and experimental approach with the Mytilus-Piaster interaction. Ecology 57:858–873Google Scholar
  37. Pearson DL, Mury EJ (1979) Character divergence and convergence among tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae). Ecology 60:557–566Google Scholar
  38. Peters RH (1983) The Ecological Implications of Body Size. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  39. Pimm SL (1982) Food Webs. Chapman and Hall, London, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Pimm SL, Lawton JH (1977) The number of trophic levels in ecological communities. Nature 268:329–331Google Scholar
  41. Pimm SL, Lawton JH (1983) Causes of food web structure: dynamics, energy flow and natural history. In: DeAngelis DL, Post WM, Sugihara G (eds) Current Trends in Food Web Theory Report on a Food Web Workshop. Oak Ridge National Laboratory ORNL-5983. Oak RidgeGoogle Scholar
  42. Polis GA, McCormick SJ (1986) Patterns of resource use and age structure among species of desert scorpion. J Anim Ecol 55:59–73Google Scholar
  43. Pritchard G, Leischner TG (1973) The life history and feeding habits of Sialis cornuta (Ross) in a series of abandoned beaver ponds (Insecta: Megaloptera). Can J Zool 51:121–31Google Scholar
  44. Pyke GH, Pulliam HR, Charnov EL (1977) Optimal foraging: a selective review of theory and tests. Q Rev Biol 52:137–154Google Scholar
  45. Rejmanek M, Stary P (1979) Connectance in real biotic communities and critical values for stability of model ecosystems. Nature 280:311–313Google Scholar
  46. Scott MA, Murdoch WW (1983) Selective predation by the back swimmer Notonecta. Limnology and Oceanography 28:352–366Google Scholar
  47. Sheldon AL (1969) Size relationships of Acroneuria california (Perlidae: Plecoptera) and its prey. Hydrobiologia 34:85–94Google Scholar
  48. Sheldon AL (1980) Resource division by perlid stoneflies (Plecoptera) in a lake outlet ecosystem. Hydrobiologia 71:155–161Google Scholar
  49. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry. Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  50. Southwood TRE (1985) Insect communities. Antenna 9:108–116Google Scholar
  51. Thompson DJ (1978) Prey size selection by larvae of the damselfly Ischnura elegans. J Anim Ecol 47:769–785Google Scholar
  52. Tsui PTP, Hubbard MD (1979) Feeding habits of the predaceous nymphs of Dolania americana in north-western Florida (Ephemoptera: Behningiidae). Hydrobiologia 67:119–123Google Scholar
  53. Vezina AF (1985) Empirical relationships between predator and prey size among terrestrial vertebrate predators. Oecologia (Berlin) 67:555–565Google Scholar
  54. Wilson DS (1973) Size selective predation among copepods. Ecology 54:909–914Google Scholar
  55. Yodzis P (1980) The connectance of real ecosystems. Nature 284:544–5Google Scholar
  56. Young AM (1967) Predation in the larvae of Dytiscus marginalis L.(Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Pan Pacific Entomologist 43:113–117Google Scholar

Copyright information

© springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. H. Warren
    • 1
  • J. H. Lawton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of YorkHeslingtonUK

Personalised recommendations