The interplay between foraging mode, habitat structure, and predator presence in antlions

Abstract

Antlion larvae are sand-dwelling insect predators, which ambush small arthropod prey while buried in the sand. In some species, the larvae construct conical pits and are considered as sit-and-wait predators which seldom relocate while in other species, they ambush prey without a pit but change their ambush site much more frequently (i.e., sit-and-pursue predators). The ability of antlion larvae to evade some of their predators which hunt them on the sand surface is strongly constrained by the degree of sand stabilization or by sand depth. We studied the effect of predator presence, predator type (active predatory beetle vs. sit-and-pursue wolf spider), and sand depth (shallow vs. deep sand) on the behavioral response of the pit building Myrmeleon hyalinus larvae and the sit-and-pursue Lopezus fedtschenkoi larvae. Predator presence had a negative effect on both antlion species activity. The sit-and-wait M. hyalinus larvae showed reduced pit-building activity, whereas the sit-and-pursue L. fedtschenkoi larvae decreased relocation activity. The proportion of relocating M. hyalinus was negatively affected by sand depth, whereas L. fedtschenkoi was negatively affected also by the predator type. Specifically, the proportion of individual L. fedtschenkoi that relocated in deeper sand was lower when facing the active predator rather than the sit-and-pursue predator. The proportion of M. hyalinus which constructed pits decreased in the presence of a predator, but this pattern was stronger when exposed to the active predator. We suggest that these differences between the two antlion species are strongly linked to their distinct foraging modes and to the foraging mode of their predators.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Abrams P, Menge BA, Mittelbach GG, Spiller D, Yodzis P (1996) The role of indirect effects in food webs. In: Polis GA, Winemiller KO (eds) Food webs: integration of patterns & dynamics. Kluwer, Boston, pp 371–395

    Google Scholar 

  2. Agrawal AA (2001) Phenotypic plasticity in the interactions and evolution of species. Science 294:321–326

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Brown JS (1988) Prey use as an indicator of habitat preference, predation risk, and competition. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 22:37–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Brown JS, Kotler BP (2004) Hazardous duty pay and the foraging cost of predation. Ecol Lett 7:999–1014

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cain ML (1987) Prey capture behavior and diel movement of Brachynemurus (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae) antlion larvae in south central Florida. Fla Entomol 70:397–400

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Caswell H (2001) Matrix population models, 2nd edn. Sinauer, Sunderland

    Google Scholar 

  7. Greef JM, Whiting MJ (2000) Foraging-mode plasticity in the lizard Platysaurus broadleyei. Herpetologica 56:402–407

    Google Scholar 

  8. Griffiths G (1992) Interference competition in ant-lion (Macroleon quinquemaculatus) larvae. Ecol Entomol 17:219–226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Huey RB, Pianka ER (1981) Ecological consequences of foraging mode. Ecology 62:991–999

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Johnson JB, Omland KS (2004) Model selection in ecology and evolution. Trends Ecol Evol 19:101–108

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Krupa JJ, Sih A (1998) Fishing spiders, green sunfish, and a stream-dwelling water strider: male-female conflict and prey responses to single versus multiple predator environments. Oecologia 117:258–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Lima SL (1998a) Stress and decision making under the risk of predation: recent developments from behavioral, reproductive, and ecological perspectives. Adv Study Behav 27:215–290

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Lima SL (1998b) Non lethal effects in the ecology of predator-prey interactions. BioScience 48:25–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. McPeek MA, Peckarsky BL (1998) Life histories and the strengths of species interactions: combining mortality, growth, and fecundity effects. Ecology 79:867–879

    Google Scholar 

  15. Relyea RA, Auld JR (2004) Having the guts to compete: how intestinal plasticity explains costs of inducible defences. Ecol Lett 7:869–875

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Rodriguez-Prieto I, Fernandez-Juricic E, Martin J (2006) Anti-predator behavioral responses of mosquito pupae to aerial predation risk. J Insect Behav 19:373–381

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Scharf I, Ovadia O (2006) Factors influencing site abandonment and site selection in a sit-and-wait predator: a review of pit-building antlion larvae. J Insect Behav 19:197–218

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Scharf I, Nulman E, Ovadia O, Bouskila A (2006) Efficiency evaluation of two competing foraging modes under different conditions. Am Nat 168:350–357

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Schmitz OJ, Suttle KB (2001) Effects of top predator species on direct and indirect interactions in a food web. Ecology 82:2072–2081

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Schmitz OJ, Krivan V, Ovadia O (2004) Trophic cascades: the primacy of trait-mediated indirect interactions. Ecol Lett 7:153–163

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Sih A, Kats LB (1991) Effects of refuge availability on the responses of salamander larvae to chemical cues from predatory green sunfish. Anim Behav 42:330–332

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Sih A, Englund G, Wooster D (1998) Emergent impacts of multiple predators on prey. Trends Ecol Evol 13:350–355

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Simon D (1988) Ant-lions (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae) of the coastal plain: systematical, ecological, and zoogeographical aspects with emphasis on the coexistence of a species guild of the unstable dunes, PhD thesis. Tel-Aviv University, Israel

    Google Scholar 

  24. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1995) Biometry, 3rd edn. Freeman, NY

  25. Stamp NE, Bowers MD (1991) Indirect effect on survivorship due to presence of invertebrate predators. Oecologia 88:325–330

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Templeton CN, Shriner WM (2004) Multiple selection pressures influence Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulate) antipredator behavior. Behav Ecol 4:673–678

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Werner EE, Anholt BR (1993) Ecological consequences of the trade-off between growth and mortality rates mediated by foraging activity. Am Nat 142:242–272

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Werner EE, Peacor SD (2003) A review of trait-mediated interactions in ecological communities. Ecology 84:1083–1100

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Wooster D, Sih A (1995) A review of the drift and activity responses of stream prey to predator presence. Oikos 73:3–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Matan Golan for his help in the field. The research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation Grant 1084/05 (to O. O.).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Inon Scharf.

Additional information

Reut Loria and Inon Scharf contributed equally to the paper.

Communicated by: D. Gwynne

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Loria, R., Scharf, I., Subach, A. et al. The interplay between foraging mode, habitat structure, and predator presence in antlions. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 62, 1185–1192 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-008-0547-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Myrmeleontidae
  • Foraging mode
  • Anti predator behavior
  • Sand depth
  • Model selection