Population Ecology

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 265–273 | Cite as

High intraguild predator density induces thinning effects on and increases temporal overlap with prey populations

  • Thomas L. AndersonEmail author
  • Raymond D. Semlitsch
Original article


Intraguild (IG) predator density can alter its effects on intraguild prey populations through several mechanisms, including density-dependent processes that affect IG predator traits such as size or growth that enhance or limit its predatory abilities. We examined whether intraspecific density-dependence altered IG predator traits, as well as the subsequent interspecific effects among its intraguild prey within a larval salamander guild. Four densities of ringed salamanders (Ambystoma annulatum), the IG predator, were combined with the presence/absence of spotted salamanders (A. maculatum), the IG prey, within experimental mesocosms. We modeled the effects of A. annulatum density on both conspecific and heterospecific responses that would be indicative of density-dependent competition and predation, respectively. We also modeled the reciprocal interspecific effects of A. maculatum on A. annulatum. We found that increasing intraspecific density negatively affected morphological traits but not survival of A. annulatum. No interspecific effects of A. maculatum on A. annulatum were observed. Alternatively, traits of A. maculatum showed nonlinear relationships with increasing A. annulatum density. Thinning effects of A. annulatum on A. maculatum were observed, as survival was positively and size negatively related for A. maculatum with IG predator density. The temporal overlap of the IG predator and prey also increased nonlinearly with IG predator density, intensifying the potential encounter rate of the two species. Overall, this study shows that density-dependent processes in IG predators can significantly affect traits of both themselves, as well as IG prey, which could ultimately change whether competition or predation occurs between the two groups.


Ambystoma Competition Predation Priority effects Salamander 



We would like to thank the Semlitsch lab for their input on study design, D. Finke, R. Holdo, M. Gompper, C. Mott and B. Ousterhout for constructive comments on an early draft of this manuscript, helpful comments from O. Kishida and two anonymous reviewers, G. Connette and B. Peterman for help in R, and L. Smith for helping collecting metamorphs. This research and TLA was funded by Department of Defense Strategic Environment Research and Development Program RC-2155. All procedures follow University of Missouri Animal Care and Use Committee protocol 7403 and eggs were collected under Missouri Department of Conservation permit 15032.

Supplementary material

10144_2013_419_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (111 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 110 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA

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