Only the first two hypotheses have been fairly well studied. To test the predator-removal hypothesis as a force determining IGP in avian predators, we performed a field experiment to simulate the presence of an IG predator eagle owl Bubo bubo dummy in the surrounding of the nests of four potential IG prey black kite Milvus migrans , red kite Milvus milvus , booted eagle Aquila pennata and common buzzard Buteo buteo. To discard the possibility that an aggressive reaction towards the eagle owl was not related to the presence of the IG predator, we also presented a stuffed tawny owl Strix aluco , which is a potential competitor but cannot be considered an IG predator of the studied diurnal raptors considered in the experiment.
While almost always ignoring the tawny owl, raptors chiefly showed an interspecific aggressive behaviour towards their IG predator. Our results seem to support the predator-removal hypothesis, as the IG prey may take advantage of the diurnal inactivity of the IG predator to remove it from their territory. However, the recorded behaviour may be also considered as a special variety of mobbing i. In their turn, eagle owls can respond with an IG predatory behaviour aimed at removing IG prey species which are highly aggressive mobbers.
We thank F. Goytre, C. Lee-Ray and Tiffany for their help in field work, S. Santos for statistical advice and revision, and E. Valkama and an anonymous referee for useful comments that improved the manuscript. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide. Kill before being killed: an experimental approach supports the predator-removal hypothesis as a determinant of intraguild predation in top predators.
Original Paper First Online: 07 April This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Acknowledgements We thank F.
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Predation is an interaction during which an organism kills and feeds on another organism. Past and current interest in studying predation in terrestrial habitats has yielded a number of methods to assess invertebrate predation events in terrestrial ecosystems. We provide a decision tree to select appropriate methods for individual studies. For each method, we then present a short introduction, key examples for applications, advantages and disadvantages, and an outlook to future refinements. Video and, to a lesser extent, live observations are recommended in studies that address behavioral aspects of predator—prey interactions or focus on per capita predation rates.
Cage studies are only appropriate for small predator species, but often suffer from a bias via cage effects. The use of prey baits or analyses of prey remains are cheaper than other methods and have the potential to provide per capita predation estimates. These advantages often come at the cost of low taxonomic specificity. Molecular methods provide reliable estimates at a fine level of taxonomic resolution and are free of observer bias for predator species of any size.
Molecular and stable isotope analyses are best suited to address systems that include a range of predator and prey species. Our review of methods strongly suggests that while in many cases individual methods are sufficient to study specific questions, combinations of methods hold a high potential to provide more holistic insights into predation events.
This review presents an overview of methods to researchers that are new to the field or to particular aspects of predation ecology and provides recommendations toward the subset of suitable methods to identify the prey of invertebrate predators in terrestrial field research. Predation is a biological interaction during which one organism kills and feeds on another organism and therefore shapes natural and anthropogenic ecosystems. Past and current interests in predation events have yielded an impressive number of methods to assess predation in field studies of terrestrial habitats.
These approaches differ in their ability to quantify predation, to identify behavioral aspects of predator—prey interactions and in their suitability for specific systems or research questions. Due to such limitations, specific methods are more or less suitable to address different research topics such as qualitative or quantitative food webs, biological control of pests or prey selection behavior. Here we provide a comprehensive overview of methods to qualitatively and quantitatively assess invertebrate predation in field studies of terrestrial ecosystems with a focus on identifying predator—prey interactions and their impact on prey populations.
Key references are provided to direct researchers to important papers that document details on the application of methods and the analysis of data. We therefore aim to provide an overview for researchers and to facilitate selection of methods for future field studies that aim at identifying the prey of invertebrate predators in terrestrial ecosystems. Sunderland provides a comprehensive overview of field studies focusing on the observation of predation events between invertebrates e.
Live observations can introduce an observer bias leading to uncharacteristic predator or prey behavior, and particularly for smaller and more mobile predator or prey species predation rates will be underestimated.
An additional constraint under field conditions is the establishment of video recording equipment which may require permits and suffers from a risk of theft. Technological advancements and future developments are likely to further facilitate the implementation of the methodology. Combining field observations or video surveillance footage of predation events, with data on predator—prey population dynamics and experimental evaluation of effects on prey populations, holds great potential e. Prey remains can be studied from an invertebrate predator's gut content or regurgitates Sunderland, Invertebrate predators that use trapping devices e.
The analysis of prey remains in gut content or feces in invertebrate predators has been used mainly in carabid beetles Hengeveld, The sampling of gut content is destructive if not using regurgitates , prey remains can often only be identified to a coarse taxonomic level, and this method is restricted to predator species without extraintestinal digestion and prey species with hard body parts that are suitable for identification. Reconstructing the diet from consumed prey remains further causes biased estimates due to known problems with differential digestibility of body parts Speakman, Predators that collect prey remains or leave skeletal remains at a feeding site offer an opportunity to study their prey spectrum.
Central place foragers may offer the best system to study predation by analyzing collected prey remains. These analyses are often constrained to coarse taxonomic resolutions of prey e. Methods to analyze prey remains in gut content in terrestrial ecosystems have now largely been replaced by molecular methods to detect prey DNA.
Cage experiments include predator exclusion and enclosure treatments. Predator exclusions involve placing cages or barriers around study areas during a specific time period to estimate predation pressure under field or semifield conditions. Predator enclosures also make use of cages or barriers, but predator communities inside are experimentally manipulated. The response variable in most cage experiments is change in prey abundance under the presence or absence of certain predator groups compared to an unmanipulated treatment.
The outcome of cage experiments is then a consequence of direct predator—prey interactions as well as indirect effects resulting from predator and prey manipulations. Enclosure experiments are particularly suitable for such manipulations as they allow for testing the effects of predators with specific traits individually and in combination with predators with alternative traits.