Multiple intraguild predators reduce mortality risk of a mutual agricultural pest prey in simple, but not in complex, experimental settings

Dalila Rendon*, Phillip W. Taylor, Mary E A Whitehouse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Multiple predator species that coexist with each other and their mutual prey can have combined effects on prey mortality that are similar to the sum of each predator's individual impact (linear effects), greater than the sum of each predator's individual impact (risk enhancement), or less than the sum of each predator's individual impact (risk reduction). Understanding multiple predator effects is important to determine the impact of predators on pest prey in agroecosystems. If two predators share the same broad spatial domain and hunting mode and engage in intraguild predation, then their combination is expected to result in risk reduction for a mutual prey. We tested this hypothesis using both additive and replacement experimental designs on two species of generalist wolf spider predators (Tasmanicosa leuckartii and Hogna crispipes) that hunt in the same domain, and a mutual insect prey (cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera). We used two types of enclosures: a small simple laboratory enclosure, and a larger more complex cotton plant enclosure. We found that in the small simple laboratory enclosures, the presence of two spiders led to risk reduction of Helicoverpa larva mortality as expected, but in larger more complex cotton plant enclosures the presence of both species resulted in linear effects rather than risk reduction on Helicoverpa mortality. Furthermore, intraguild predation did not change multiple predator effects in laboratory or plant enclosures. This study has implications for managing arthropod predators in agroecosystems; contrary to predictions of ecological frameworks, coexistence of predators that share the same hunting mode and hunting domain may not lead to risk reduction on a mutual prey in more complex environments, where encounters among predators can be lower. Conservation of multiple predators of a single guild can play an essential role on biological control of insect pests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1075
Number of pages11
JournalAustral Ecology
Volume44
Issue number6
Early online date24 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • biological control
  • cotton
  • Helicoverpa
  • Lycosidae
  • risk enhancement
  • risk reduction
  • substitutability

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