Theory predicts that when prey can reach a size refuge from predation, prey vulnerability to predation is a function of hatchling size, growth rate, and the handling limitations of its predator, which collectively influence the amount of time prey spend vulnerable. I examined the mechanistic role of prey size for the predator-prey interaction between predatory crayfish (Procambarus fallax) and apple snail prey (Pomacea paludosa and P. maculata) and found that crayfish feeding rates decreased with snail size, such that smaller hatchling P. maculata were more than twenty times more vulnerable than hatchling P. paludosa. Experimental manipulations of productivity increased apple snail growth rates, reducing the effects of predatory crayfish on P. maculata survivorship, but not P. paludosa survivorship. My results indicate that when prey can reach a size refuge from predation, increased system productivity decreases predator limitation of that prey.
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 56/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Apple snail, Crayfish, Predation, Productivity, Size refuge, Wetlands|
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