Predator-prey size interaction in tropical ponds

Abstract

An experiment was set-up to see in mortality inflicted by tadpole predators depends on prey and predator sizes. Fish and dragonfly larvae were used as predators and two size classes of Osteocephalus taurinus tadpoles as prey. Results show that the effect of predators is dependent on the size structure of the prey population. Furthermore, dragonfly larvae are more voracious predators than the fish used in the experiment. Both predators occur in natural ponds where Osteocephalus taurinus lays its eggs. The timing of arrival of predators and prey, which determines the relative sizes of predators and prey, is an important factor determining the outcome of an episode of community interaction in tropical ponds, as in similar temperate systems.


Predator-prey size interaction in tropical ponds

Claude Gascon

Department of Biological Sciences - Florida State University - Tallahassee, Florida 32306-2043

ABSTRACT

An experiment was set-up to see in mortality inflicted by tadpole predators depends on prey and predator sizes. Fish and dragonfly larvae were used as predators and two size classes of Osteocephalus taurinus tadpoles as prey. Results show that the effect of predators is dependent on the size structure of the prey population. Furthermore, dragonfly larvae are more voracious predators than the fish used in the experiment. Both predators occur in natural ponds where Osteocephalus taurinus lays its eggs. The timing of arrival of predators and prey, which determines the relative sizes of predators and prey, is an important factor determining the outcome of an episode of community interaction in tropical ponds, as in similar temperate systems.

Full text available only in PDF format.

Texto completo disponível apenas em PDF.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This study was supported by a grant from World Wildlife Fund and a Grant-in-Aid of Research from Sigma XI, The Scientific Research Society. Additional support was provided from a Graduate Fellowship from FCAR (Quebec). This manuscript was greatly improved by comments by J. Travis, P. Stilling, M. Wong and P. Morin. This is publication of the Biological Dynamics of Tropical Forest Fragments Project (Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems Project).

  • BOKERMANN, W.C.A. 1964. Field observations on the hylid frog Osteocephalus taurinus Fitz. Herpetologica 20:252-255.
  • CRONIN, J.T., J. TRAVIS. 1986. Size-limited predation on larval Rana areolata (Anura: Ranidae) by two species of backswimmers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Notonectidae). Herpetologica 42:171-174.
  • CRUMP, M.L. 1984. Ontogenetic changes in vulnerability to predation in tadpoles of Hyla pseudopuma. Herpetologica 40:265-271.
  • DUELLMAN, W.E. & J. LESCURE. 1973. Life history and ecology of the hylid frog Osteocephalus taurinus, with observations on larval behavior. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History. 13:1-12. The Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
  • FORMANOWICZ, D.R.Jr. 1986. Anuran tadpole/aquatic insect predator-prey interactions: tadpole size and predator capture success. Herpetologica 42:367-373.
  • GOSNER, K.L. 1960. A simplified table for staging anuran embryos and larvae with notes on identification. Herpetologica 16:183-190.
  • HEYER, W.R., R.W. McDIARMID & D.L. WEIGMANN. 1985. Tadpoles, predation and pond habitats in the tropics. Biotropica 7:100-111.
  • MORIN, P.J. 1981. Predatory salamanders reverse the outcome of competition among three species of anuran tadpoles. Science 212:1284-1286.
  • MORIN, P.J. 1985. Predation intensity, prey survival and injury frequency in an amphibian predator-prey interaction. Copeia 1985:638-644.
  • MORIN, P.J. 1987. Predation, breeding asynchrony, and the outcome of competition among treefrog tadpoles. Ecology 68:675-683.
  • SEMLITSCH, R.D. & J.W. GIBBONS. 1988. Fish Predation in size-structured populations of treefrog tadpoles. Oecologia 75:312-326.
  • STEEL, R.G.D. & J.H. TORIE.. 1960. Principles and Procedures of Statistics. McGraw-Hill Book Co. New-York. 481pp.
  • TRAVIS, J., W.H. KEEN & J. JULIANA. 1985. The role of relative body size in a predator-prey relationship between dragonfly naiads and larval anurans. Oikos 45:59-65.
  • WILBUR, H.M., P.J. MORIN & R.N. HARRIS. 1983. Salamander predation and the structure of experimental communities: anuran responses. Ecology 64:1423-1429.
  • WOODWARD, B.D. 1983a. Predator-prey interactions and breeding-pond use of temporary species in a desert anuran community. Ecology 64:1549-1555.
  • WOODWARD, B.D. 1983b. Tadpole size and predation in the Chihuahuan desert. Southwestern Naturalist 28:470-471.
  • WOODWARD, B.D. & P. JOHNSON P. 1985. Ambystoma tigrinum predation on Scaphiopus couchi tadpoles of different sizes. Southeastern Naturalist 30:460-461.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    11 Aug 2009
  • Date of issue
    1989
Sociedade Brasileira de Zoologia Caixa Postal 19020, 81531-980 Curitiba PR Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 41 3266-6823, - Curitiba - PR - Brazil
E-mail: sbz@bio.ufpr.br