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Intraguild predation may explain an amphipod replacement: evidence from laboratory populations

  • Jaimie T. A. Dick (a1), W. Ian Montgomery (a1) and Robert W. Elwood (a1)

Abstract

In a laboratory experiment that permitted both observations of the behaviour of individuals and the monitoring of small populations, the role of ‘intraguild predation’ in the elimination of the freshwater amphipod Gammarus duebeni celticus by the introduced G. pulex was examined. Over 18 weeks, deaths in single and mixed species replicates were monitored. Rates of ‘mortality’ (deaths not due to cannibalism or predation) did not differ between the species. Gammarus d. celticus, however, was more cannibalistic than G. pulex and, in both species, males were more often cannibalized than females. In mixed species replicates, the mean proportions of animals preyed upon did not differ among replicates with differing starting proportions of the two species, nor was there a difference between the sexes in numbers preyed upon. G. pulex, however, preyed more frequently on G. d. celticus than vice versa, and this became more pronounced over time. In 87% of mixed species replicates, G. pulex eliminated G. d. celticus. The results support the proposition that intraguild predation may be the primary mechanism whereby G. pulex rapidly replaces G. d. celticus in freshwater. Integrating behavioural observations with population level monitoring may thus link pattern and process in behaviour and ecology.

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