Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am Nat. 1997 Dec;150(6):744-70. doi: 10.1086/286092.

Clutch-size behavior and coexistence in ephemeral-patch competition models.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Systems of patchy, ephemeral resources often support surprisingly diverse assemblages of consumer insects. Aggregation of consumer individuals over the landscape of patches has been suggested as one mechanism that can stabilize competition among consumer species. One mechanism for larval aggregation is the laying of eggs in clutches by females traveling among patches to distribute their total fecundity. We use simulation models to explore the consequences, for coexistence of competitors, of larval aggregation that arises from clutch laying. Contrary to some previous treatments, we find that clutch laying can be strongly stabilizing and under certain conditions can be sufficient to allow competitors to coexist stably. We extend these models by considering clutch size as a variable that responds to the abundance of resource patches. Such a relationship might be expected because females should lay their eggs in fewer but larger clutches when the cost of travel among patches is high (because patches are rare). When females adjust clutch size in response to resource abundance, coexistence can be easiest when resource patches are scarce and most difficult when resources are abundant.

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk