Small prey size offers immunity to predation: a case study on two species of Asplanchna and three brachionid prey (Rotifera)  [2007]

Sarma, S. S. S. Nandini, S.

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We tested the hypothesis that small prey can coexist with large predators. For this we confronted two predators (smaller Asplanchna brightwellii: 900 μm and larger A. sieboldi: 1400 μm) with three prey rotifers (smaller: Anuraeopsis fissa (70 μm); larger: Brachionus calyciflorus (200 μm) and intermediate: B. patulus (120 μm)) using functional response, prey preference, population growth and life table demography. Regardless of prey type, A. sieboldi was able to consume more prey than A. brightwellii and it consumed higher number of B. patulus than of B. calyciflorus or A. fissa. Prey preference experiments showed that A. brightwellii had no preference for B. calyciflorus regardless of prey density, while A. sieboldi preferred B. calyciflorus and avoided A. fissa. Data on population growth showed that A. brightwellii was always numerically more abundant than A. sieboldi. Prey type had a significant effect on peak abundances of A. sieboldi but not of A. brightwellii. Life table demography data revealed a significantly lower lifespan in A. brightwellii fed B. calyciflorus, compared to B. patulus, but not when compared to A. fissa. A. sieboldi lifespan was not affected by prey type. Depending on prey type and predator species, generation time varied from 2 to 3 days. Both lowest (0.38 d-¹) and highest (0.98 d-¹) population growth rates were observed in A. sieboldi. We suggest that reduced reproductive output in Asplanchna was caused by either large (B. calycif
lorus) or small (A. fissa) prey. At natural densities of Anuraeopsis, it is unlikely that Asplanchna reaches abundances high enough to exterminate this prey. By its extremely small size (combining low energetic profitability with low encounter rates with predators) A. fissa may coexist with Asplanchna in nature.

Other subjects

  • demography
  • Prey selectivity
  • functional response
  • predation
  • population growth

From the journal


ISSN : 0018-8158


Other information

Language : English

Type : Journal Article

In AGRIS since : 2013

Volume : v. 593

Issue : 1

Start Page : 67

End Page : 76

Publisher : Dordrecht : Springer Netherlands

All titles :

" Small prey size offers immunity to predation: a case study on two species of Asplanchna and three brachionid prey (Rotifera) "