Temporally fluctuating prey and interfering predators: a positive feedback

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Temporally fluctuating prey and interfering predators: a positive feedback. / Nilsson, Anders; Ruxton, G D.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 68, No. 1, 2004, p. 159-165.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Temporally fluctuating prey and interfering predators: a positive feedback

AU - Nilsson, Anders

AU - Ruxton, G D

PY - 2004

Y1 - 2004

N2 - Prey densities often show fluctuating patterns over various timescales. Focusing on short-term, within-generation fluctuating patterns of local prey availability, we suggest that prey that show synchronized and high-amplitude fluctuations in availability experience decreased risks of predation, but also enhance the maintenance of predator interference hierarchies by affecting the relative foraging success of unequal conspecific interferers. When predators interfere with each other, they forage less intensely on prey, which benefits prey in terms of decreased predation risk. The system hence involves a positive feedback. We thus argue that short-term temporal fluctuations in local prey availability could be an important mechanism behind how interference-structured social predator systems are developed and sustained. The temporal fluctuations also have implications for the phenotypic diversity of predators, and may be involved in speciation processes.

AB - Prey densities often show fluctuating patterns over various timescales. Focusing on short-term, within-generation fluctuating patterns of local prey availability, we suggest that prey that show synchronized and high-amplitude fluctuations in availability experience decreased risks of predation, but also enhance the maintenance of predator interference hierarchies by affecting the relative foraging success of unequal conspecific interferers. When predators interfere with each other, they forage less intensely on prey, which benefits prey in terms of decreased predation risk. The system hence involves a positive feedback. We thus argue that short-term temporal fluctuations in local prey availability could be an important mechanism behind how interference-structured social predator systems are developed and sustained. The temporal fluctuations also have implications for the phenotypic diversity of predators, and may be involved in speciation processes.

U2 - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.10.015

DO - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.10.015

M3 - Article

VL - 68

SP - 159

EP - 165

JO - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

JF - The British Journal of Animal Behaviour

SN - 1095-8282

IS - 1

ER -