Facilitation and interference among three predators affect their consumption of a stream-dwelling mayfly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


1. We experimentally tested if a multiplicative risk model accurately predicted the consumption of a common mayfly at risk of predation from three predator species in New Zealand streams. Deviations between model predictions and experimental observations were interpreted as indicators of ecologically important interactions between predators.
2. The predators included a drift-feeding fish [brown trout (T), Salmo trutta], a benthivorous fish [galaxiid (G), koaro, Galaxias brevipennis] and a benthic predatory stonefly (S; Stenoperla sp.) with Deleatidium sp. mayflies as prey. Eight treatments with all predator species combinations and a predator-free control were used. Experiments were performed in aquaria with cobbles as predator refuges for mayflies and we measured the proportion of prey consumed after 6 h for both day and night trials.

3. Trout consumed a higher proportion of prey than other predators. For the two predator treatments we found less than expected prey consumption in the galaxiid + trout treatment (G + T) for both day and night trials, whereas a higher than expected proportion of prey was consumed during night time in the stonefly + trout (S + T) treatment.

4. The results indicate interference (G + T) and facilitation (S + T) between predators depending on predator identity and time of day. Thus, to make accurate predictions of interspecific interactions, it is necessary to consider the ecology of individual species and how differences influence the direction and magnitude of interactions.


  • Erika Nilsson
  • Pia Hertonsson
  • Marika Stenberg
  • Jakob Brodersen
  • Karin Olsson
  • Patrik Stenroth
  • Thomas Lakowitz
  • Christer Brönmark
  • Per Nyström
  • A R McIntosh
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1507-1514
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch