Consequences of competition on the reproduction and mortality of three species of terrestrial slugs
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The interaction of three species of terrestrial slugs was studied in six field cages containing monocultures and 2-way combinations.A. columbianus andA. ater were non-aggressive species andL. maximus was highly aggressive during the summer. All three species were similar in body design and resource utilization. Reproduction (egg size, eggs/batch, number of batches, wet-weight productivity) and mortality were monitored through the 1977 season.L. maximus drastically reduced reproductive success of the non-aggressive slugs and increased their mortality. There were also significant interactions between the non-aggressive species.
Compared to other invertebrates, the life history characteristics ofA. columbianus are stronglyK-selected and probably evolved through intraspecific exploitative competition in predictable, stable forest habitats.A. ater is best classified as a refugingr-selected species adapted to less predictable, unstable field environments.L. maximus appears to be α-selected and its overall design is suited to density-dependent regulation in fields.
KeywordsBatch Size Field Cage Limax Metaldehyde Life History Tactic
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