Biodiversity Loss following the Introduction of Exotic Competitors: Does Intraguild Predation Explain the Decline of Native Lady BeetlesReport as inadecuate




Biodiversity Loss following the Introduction of Exotic Competitors: Does Intraguild Predation Explain the Decline of Native Lady Beetles - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Exotic species are widely accepted as a leading cause of biodiversity decline. Lady beetles Coccinellidae provide an important model to study how competitor introductions impact native communities since several native coccinellids have experienced declines that coincide with the establishment and spread of exotic coccinellids. This study tested the central hypothesis that intraguild predation by exotic species has caused these declines. Using sentinel egg experiments, we quantified the extent of predation on previously-common Hippodamia convergens and common Coleomegilla maculata native coccinellid eggs versus exotic coccinellid Harmonia axyridis eggs in three habitats: semi-natural grassland, alfalfa, and soybean. Following the experiments quantifying egg predation, we used video surveillance to determine the composition of the predator community attacking the eggs. The extent of predation varied across habitats, and egg species. Native coccinellids often sustained greater egg predation than H. axyridis. We found no evidence that exotic coccinellids consumed coccinellid eggs in the field. Harvestmen and slugs were responsible for the greatest proportion of attacks. This research challenges the widely-accepted hypothesis that intraguild predation by exotic competitors explains the loss of native coccinellids. Although exotic coccinellids may not be a direct competitor, reduced egg predation could indirectly confer a competitive advantage to these species. A lower proportion of H. axyridis eggs removed by predators may have aided its expansion and population increase and could indirectly affect native species via exploitative or apparent competition. These results do not support the intraguild predation hypothesis for native coccinellid decline, but do bring to light the existence of complex interactions between coccinellids and the guild of generalist predators in coccinellid foraging habitats.



Author: Chelsea A. Smith , Mary M. Gardiner

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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