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Chapter 16 PREDATORS AND THEIR PREY

Predation involves three trophic levels: vegetation, herbivore and carnivore.


HERBIVORE PREDATION ON PLANTS
There are two forms of predation on plants: defoliation and consumption of fruits and seeds.
Defoliation is the consumptions of leaves, bark, roots, stems and sap.
Defoliation has an adverse effect on the plant or kills the plant.
emoval of leaves changes the plant!s competitive position in the stand.
"f seeds removed b# predators represent that portion of the population that has not future, then
seed predation has no real impact.
EFFECTS ON PLANT FITNESS
$oss of foliage and loss of roots decreases plant biomass, reduce the vigor of the plant, place it
at a competitive disadvantage to surrounding vegetation, and lower its reproductive effort or
fitness.
%utrients are lost depending on the tissue consumed.
&oung leaves are dependent structures, because the# import and consume nutrients drawn
from reserves in roots and other plant tissues.
's the leaf matures, it becomes a net e(porter, reaching its peak before senescence sets in.
)ra*ing herbivores tend to re+ect older leaves because of their higher lignin content and other
compounds ,e.g. tannins-, and concentrate on #ounger leaves.
Plants respond to defoliation with a flush of new growth that drains the reserves that other wise
would have gone into growth and reproduction.
Defoliation of coniferous trees results in their death. The# do not have the ph#siological
mechanism that allows them to recover b# forming new leaves.
.ap suckers can reduce growth rates and biomass of wood# plants b# /0 1.
2oderate gra*ing ma# have a stimulating growth effect at the e(pense of nutrients stored in the
roots.
)ra*ing on grasses removes older tissue. The meristem of grasses is located closer to the
ground rather than at the ape( of the blade.
The older tissue of grasses functions at a lower rate of photos#nthesis.
PLANT DEFENSES AGAINST HERBIVORES
3ecause of the comple( digestive process needed to break down plant cellulose and convert
plant tissue into animal flesh, high 4ualit# forage is necessar#.
5igh 4ualit# foods are #oung, soft and green, or the# are stored in roots, tubers and seeds.
$ow 4ualit# foods are fibrous and wood#, and indigestible.
1. Morpholoi!al "efen#e# include thorns, spines, hairs, cell wall thickening, rapid
proliferation of cells, and calcification of some algae.
/. Che$i!al "efen#e# include the accumulation of compounds that make the plant parts
difficult to eat, hard to digest, unpalatable, repugnant or to(ic.
Che$i!al "efen#e#%
Protective chemicals are called #e!on"ar& !o$po'n"# since the# are not essential for the
metabolic processes of the plant.
substances not produced as part of primar# metabolism in plant6 fre4uentl# with
an uncertain function6 possible allelochemics between insects and plants.
allelo!he$i!# are secondar# substances capable of modif#ing the growth,
behavior or population d#namics of other species through inhibitor# or regulator#
processes.
These compounds cover a wide range of organic chemicals: to(ic proteins,
tannins, terpenes, alkaloids, phenolics, resins, steroidal, c#anogenic and mustard
oil gl#cosides and tannins ,contain aromatic rings, some are gl#cosides-.
Phenoli!# are ver# common amino acid derivatives found in seed7producing
plants6 the# are the burning substances in poison iv# and poison oak. Al(aloi"#
are also amino acid derivatives found thousands of species of plants.
C#anogenic gl#cosides are found in a few hundreds of species.
)l#cosides are oligosaccharides bound to alcohols, phenols or amino groups.
The# usuall# interfere with the formation of 'TP.
These chemicals are often stored in vacuoles and released onl# when the cells
are destro#ed.
8pidermal glands produce some chemicals to function as contact poisons or
volatile inhibitors.
9uantitative inhibitors interfere with digestive en*#mes. The# are mostl# tannins
and resins that accumulate on the surface of leaves, bark and seeds.
9ualitative inhibitors interfere with metabolism. The# are effective at low
concentration and can be transported readil# from growing points to seeds,
leaves and bark. 'lkaloids like mescaline, nicotine, cocaine and morphine fall
under this categor#.
.ome plants produce animal hormones or mimic them in order to induce earl#
metamorphosis, decrease fertilit#, slow down metabolism, difficult labor, etc.
.econdar# compounds ma# also function as warning odors, repellents,
attractants, or direct poisons.
)'alitati*e re#pon#e involves highl# to(ic gl#cosides, alkaloids and other secondar#
compounds6 the# are effective in low concentration and 4uickl# transported to the site of attack.
Plants that use 4ualitative responses are usuall# short7lived perennials and
annuals.
The substances are stored in vacuole, glandular hairs and resin7late( s#stems.
These chemicals interfere with metabolism and disrupt insect development.
)'antitati*e re#pon#e# are often terpenes, saponins, tannins and resins. The# are slow in
acting and depend on plant tissue being eaten in large amounts, and the chemicals are not
easil# mobili*ed.
The# are produce near the surface of the bark, leaves and seeds.
:suall# found in long7lived plants, e.g. oaks.
The plant produces these chemicals in large amounts onl# when stimulated to do so b# an
herbivore attack. .uch a response ma# last for several #ears. This is called in"'!e"
re#i#tan!e.
Her+i*ore !o'nter$ea#'re# to !he$i!al "efen#e#%
Plant chemicals are advantageous to the animals that can tolerate them:
.pecialists can "eto,if& the harmful substance. ;ertebrates do it in the liver6 insects
deto(if# in the gut and 2alpighian tubules.
Deto(ification is done b# a s#stem of $i,e" f'n!tion o,i"a#e# ,2<=- that o(idase,
reduce and h#drol#*e to(ic chemicals into soluble molecules that can be eliminated.
2<= is a general deto(if#ing agent, and it is induced into activit# b# a wide range of
to(ic chemicals.
The 2<= is ubi4uitous in animals and re4uires little genetic change to adapt to newl#
evolved to(ic chemicals. "nsects in particular are preadapted to handle man# to(ic,
unrelated chemicals.
2i(ed function o(idase activit# in vertebrates is located in the liver6 in insects, in the gut,
fat bodies and 2alpighian tubules.
<ewer or no competitors to eat the harmful plant.
'nimal becomes poisonous b# incorporating the plant chemicals.
.ome insects cut the flow of chemicals b# cutting the veins that suppl# the to(ic
chemicals to the intended place of feeding.
' compound found in grass serves as a reproductive cue to the montane vole that new
vegetative growth has begun and there will be enough food for the #oung.
Mi$i!r&
Mi$i!r& is the close resemblance of one organism, the $i$i!, to another organism, the
$o"el, in order to deceive a third, the operator.
The model and the mimic are not closel# related.
3oth live in the same area.
"t is usuall# presumed that mimicr# is an evolutionar# development in animals but there is
evidence that animals in search for food ma# have stimulated mimicr# in plants.
e. g. 3utterfl# 5eliconius ma# have stimulated mimicr# in its food plant, the
passionflower ,Passiflora- species to resemble species inedible to 5eliconius larvae.
Str'!t'ral "efen#e#
The role of structural defense is mostl# presumed. $ittle e(perimental evidence e(ists to
demonstrate the effectiveness of such apparent defensive structures against herbivores.
Plants have developed structures that make it difficult or impossible for the predator to reach
and eat.
Tough leaves, spines, and epidermal hairs on leaves, hard seed coat.
The main effect of spines and prickles is to restrict bite si*e, thus increasing handling time. "
restrict foliage losses to large herbivores.
Pre"ator #atiation
.eed predation removes individuals from the population.
.ome plant species depend on seed predators to disperse their seeds. These species produce
large number of seeds to insure that some will survive and germinate.
.eed production varies from #ear to #ear due...
esponse to favorable climatic conditions.
3umper crops use much energ# and energ# reserves have to be rebuilt.
3# s#nchroni*ing #ears with abundant seed production alternating with #ears of poor seed
production, seed predators are discouraged from increasing and remaining in the area.
The great abundance of seeds satiates the herbivore and allows some seeds to escape and
germinate.
&ears of abundant seed production coinciding with low predator population, will overwhelm the
predator population and man# seeds will escape predation.
"f all seeds mature at the same time and are released, the seed7predator will not be able to eat
all of them.
>eather events s#nchroni*e seed production.

PREDATION ON ANIMALS
Predators are organisms that kill and eat animals.
T#pes of predation: .it7and7wait method and prowler method.
5erbivores support carnivores.
<itness of the predator depends on its abilit# to catch the pre#.
<itness of the pre# depends on its abilit# to elude the predator.
'rms race between the two.
.ome studies seem to indicate that predators do not evolve as fast as pre# over evolutionar#
time.
Che$i!al "efen#e#
;enom protects snakes from enemies, and help them capture pre#.
.ome species of fish release pheromones from the skin into the water that act as alarm and
induce fright in other members of the same or related species.
.ome of these pheromones are located under the skin and released onl# when the skin is
broken.
.ome arthropods produce strong odorous substances.
.ome arthropods incorporate the poisonous substances of the plant the# eat.
-arnin !oloration uses bright colors and striking markings to advertise danger.
The predator must have had an unpleasant e(perience before it begins to associate
the colors with pain or distasteful.
Bate#ian $i$i!r& is when an edible mimic resembles a poisonous model.
M'llerian $i$i!r& occurs when several poisonous or distasteful organisms resemble
each other. "t is advantageous to both.
Cr&pti! !oloration hides the organism b# blending into the background.
Cr#ptic coloration involves color, shapes, patterns, and behavior that enable the pre#
to hide from predators.
2an# organisms resemble twigs, leaves, stones, etc. in order to blend in and hide.
Fla#hin !oloration ma# distract and disorient predators, or it ma# serve as a signal to
promote group cohesion. "t is displa#ed when disturbed and put to flight.
Ar$or# an" .eapon# are effective means of defense
Plates of armadillos, 4uills of porcupines, carapace of turtles and tortoises, shells of
beetles, snails and clams, etc.
The origin of these structures is varied in different species: modified hairs, bon#
plates, hardened secretions, etc.
.ome animal defenses are +eha*ioral, like alarm calls, distraction displa#s, and flocking.
Pre"ator #atiation is a more subtle defense.
PREDATOR OFFENSE
Predators hunt b# ambush, stalking, and pursuing.
'mbush hunting involves l#ing in wait for pre# to appear, e. g. frogs, li*ards, and
alligators.
.talking is the 4uick attack after a search, e. g. herons and cats.
Pursuit hunting involves minimal search time but the pursuit time is great. These
predators must secure relativel# large pre# to compensate for the energ# e(pended.
Predators have evolved man# methods of hunting and killing their pre#.
Cooperative hunting, e.g. lions, wolves.
<iltering
pre# from the environment is common in a4uatic ecos#stems.
"n are##i*e $i$i!r&/ the predator resembles the pre# in order to approach its victim
unnoticed. The# use cr#ptic coloration and mimicr# to approach their victims.
<angs, claws, echolocation, facial disks that reflect sound are adaptations to hunting.
CANNIBALISM
Cannibalism is intraspecific predation.
Cannibalism is found in a wide range of animals, from proto*oans to mammals.
'bout 0?1 of terre#trial !anni+al# are herbivorous, mostl# insects, the one most apt to
e(perience a shortage of protein.
"n fre#h.ater an" $arine habitats the !anni+al# are mostl# predator# species.
Cannibalism has been associated with a decline in the food suppl#.
.ome species become cannibalistic when the food runs out6 others do so when alternative
foods decline and individuals are malnourished6 or when the time spent foraging increases and
the foraging area has to e(pand.
=ther causes of cannibalistic behavior are:
1. Crowded conditions or dense populations even when the food suppl# is ade4uate.
/. .tress, especiall# when dominant individuals attack individuals of low social rank.
@. The presence of vulnerable individuals such as nestling, eggs, larvae.
"ntraspecific predation is usuall# confined to older and larger individuals. &oung and small
individuals are the usual victims but not alwa#s.
8ffects of cannibalism:
"t eliminates competitors.
"t reduces growth and therefore overcrowded conditions.
"t can be a selective factor if certain survivors become too aggressive and eat their own
progen#.
The killing of one adult individual b# another adult member of the species is uncommon.
8ating the dead individual is ver# rare.
INTRAG0ILD PREDATION
.ome predators kill and eat species that use similar resources. This is called intra'il"
pre"ation.
"ntraguild predation combines competition predation. "n this case, one competitor kills the other
and obtains food and nutrients in the process.
Potential competition is reduced.
PREDATOR1PREY CYCLES
$=TA'7;=$T8' P8D'T=& 2=D8$
"t assumes that the number of predators depend on the pre# population.
The model produces a c#clic population curve showing the population fluctuation of pre# and
predator.
"t is too simple to fit an# real interacting populations of pre# and predator.
Population fluctuations can produce flat/ irr'pti*e and !&!li! population curves around A.
<or a predator and pre# to coe(ist, it is necessar# that...
There is enough variet# in the habitat to provide ...
' refuge for the pre# is an important factor in maintaining the pre# population at a
minimum level.
'lternative pre# sources so the predator does not starve and becomes e(tinct.
.o the predator to move to a place where pre# numbers are still large enough to
support the predator population.
C&!li! pop'lation#
%atural populations rarel# achieve a stable level.
The# fluctuate between an upper and a lower limit about a mean.
C#clic populations refer to recurrent changes in population si*e with a regularit# greater tan
e(pected b# chance.
.ome observations:
@7B and C71? #ear c#cles are the most commonl# reported.
- =ften characteristic of simpler ecos#stems of high latitudes: tundra and boreal forest.
- ' stud# shows that the 1?7#ear boreal c#cle involves the recover# of the hare
population following a decline in the l#n( population and a recover# of vegetation.
.unspots apparentl# affect the climate and acts as an e,ternal #&n!hroni2er.
@7B #ear c#cles are most characteristic of the tundra and 8urasia.
C71? #ear c#cles are usuall# found in %orth 'merica and rarel# in 8urasia.
5#potheses about the cause of c#cles:
1. "nherent to the predator7pre# relationship where the two populations are closel# linked.
/. The result of time lag in an overcrowded condition, in which the environment and not the
predator causes the pre# decline.
@. =utside periodic events of the environment, e.g. sunspots, 8l %iDo.
B. The result of evolution b# providing some advantage.
;er# few populations e(hibit chaotic behavior in which the d#namics are complicated and
unpredictable.
REG0LATION
Predators control pre# numbers if the# eat more pre# as the pre# population si*e increases.
"ndividual eats more, a functional response.
%umber of predators increases, a numerical response.
"n this case predation will be acting as a densit#7dependent factor on the pre#.
<unctional response levels off eventuall# because it takes an irreducible amount of time to
capture the pre#, and the predator becomes satiated. 3oth responses work together.
"f the pre# increases e(plosivel#, it can escape regulation b# predators.
.ome pre# e(hibit a c#clic behavior in the absence of predator, e.g. 8uropean vole.
<ield evidence that predators interact with pre# to produce stable populations is scarce and
difficult to obtain
)eneralist predators can maintain stable populations ,the predatorEs- b# shifting their diet to
other pre#.
Predation ma# stabili*e pre# population, but more often the relationship results in unstable
fluctuations.
The ten7#ear snowshoe hare7l#n( c#cle involves a three7trophic7level interaction among
vegetation, hares, and l#n(. ecover# of hares follows a decline in l#n( and a recover# of
vegetation.