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Exp Appl Acarol. 2001;25(10-11):785-808.

Prey preference, intraguild predation and population dynamics of an arthropod food web on plants.

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IBED, Section Population Biology, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 94084, 1090 GB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The theory of intraguild predation (IGP) largely studies effects on equilibrium densities of predators and prey, while experiments mostly concern transient dynamics. We studied the effects of an intraguild (IG) predator, the bug Orius laevigatus, on the population dynamics of IG-prey, the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis, and a shared prey, the phytophagous two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae, as well as on the performance of cucumber plants in a greenhouse. The interaction of the predatory mite and the spider mite is highly unstable, and ends either by herbivores overexploiting the plant or predators exterminating the herbivores. We studied the effect of IGP on the transient dynamics of this system, and compared the dynamics with that predicted by a simple population-dynamical model with IGP added. Behavioural studies showed that the predatory bug and the predatory mite were both attracted to plants infested by spider mites and that the two predators did not avoid plants occupied by the other predator. Observations on foraging behaviour of the predatory bug showed that it attacks and kills large numbers of predatory mites and spider mites. The model predicts strong effects of predation and prey preference by the predatory bugs on the dynamics of predatory mites and spider mites. However, experiments in which the predatory bug was added to populations of predatory mites and spider mites had little or no effect on numbers of both mite species, and cucumber plant and fruit weight.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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