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Ontogenetic stage-specific reciprocal intraguild predation

Fonseca, Morgana Maria, Pallini, Angelo, Lima, Eraldo, Janssen, Arne
Oecologia 2018 v.188 no.3 pp. 743-751
Neoseiulus californicus, Phytoseiulus, Tetranychus urticae, adulthood, adults, ecological competition, eggs, females, ingestion, inventories, juveniles, life history, ontogeny, population dynamics, predation, predatory mites
The size or stage of interacting individuals is known to affect the outcome of ecological interactions and can have important consequences for population dynamics. This is also true for intraguild predation (the killing and eating of potential competitors), where the size or ontogenetic stage of an individual determines whether it is the intraguild predator or the intraguild prey. Studying size- or stage-specific interactions is therefore important, but can be challenging in species with complex life histories. Here, we investigated predatory interactions of all feeding stages of the two predatory mite species Neoseiulus californicus and Phytoseiulus macropilis, both of which have complex life cycles, typical for predatory arthropods. Populations of these two species compete for two-spotted spider mites, their prey. We evaluated both the capacity to kill stages of the other predator species and the capacity to benefit from feeding on these stages, both prerequisites for the occurrence of intraguild predation. Ontogeny played a critical role in the occurrence of intraguild predation. Whereas the juveniles of P. macropilis developed from larva until adulthood when feeding on N. californicus eggs, interestingly, adult female P. macropilis did not feed on the smaller stages of the other species. We furthermore show that intraguild predation was reciprocal: both juveniles and adult females of N. californicus preyed on the smallest stages of P. macropilis. These results suggest that a proper analysis of the interactions between pairs of species involved in intraguild predation should start with an inventory of the interactions among all ontogenetic stages of these species.