Special Issue "Trophic Interactions of Insects and Amphibians"

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A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Eric W. Riddick

National Biological Control Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Stoneville, MS 38776, USA
Interests: behavioral and chemical ecology of natural enemies; biological control; insect colonization; insect-amphibian interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this special issue is to highlight the trophic interactions of insects and amphibians. The most commonly known interaction between these two classes of animals involves predator-prey, with insects serving as prey of amphibians. In light of the global decline of amphibians, there is an urgent need to devise methods of rearing insects as food for endangered or threatened species in captive propagation. Insects also function as natural enemies of amphibians. Although there are some published studies that document insect predation or parasitism, few if any of these studies indicate whether insects can significantly affect the population dynamics of their prey (or hosts). Competition for limited resources between insects and amphibians can occur in some habitats. Research on this interaction is necessary to determine what abiotic or biotic variables we can manipulate to influence the outcome of competition. Finally, insects serve as dietary sources of toxins found in the skin secretions of amphibians. Can we extract these toxins and formulate them into repellents against biting insects, such as mosquitoes? Articles in this special issue will address a diversity of topics dealing with trophic interactions of insects and amphibians from both a basic and applied framework. The submission of high quality articles on any trophic interaction of these two classes of animals is encouraged.

Dr. Eric W. Riddick
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • competition
  • frogs
  • insects
  • natural enemies
  • parasitism
  • predation
  • repellents
  • toxins

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication Density-Dependent Effects of Amphibian Prey on the Growth and Survival of an Endangered Giant Water Bug
Insects 2011, 2(4), 435-446; doi:10.3390/insects2040435
Received: 7 September 2011 / Revised: 15 September 2011 / Accepted: 27 September 2011 / Published: 30 September 2011
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Abstract
Amphibian predator–insect prey relationships are common in terrestrial habitats, but amphibian larvae are preyed upon by a variety of aquatic hemipterans in aquatic habitats. This paper suggests that the survival of the nymphs of the endangered aquatic hemipteran Kirkaldyia (=Lethocerus) deyrolli (Belostomatidae: [...] Read more.
Amphibian predator–insect prey relationships are common in terrestrial habitats, but amphibian larvae are preyed upon by a variety of aquatic hemipterans in aquatic habitats. This paper suggests that the survival of the nymphs of the endangered aquatic hemipteran Kirkaldyia (=Lethocerus) deyrolli (Belostomatidae: Heteroptera) is directly and indirectly affected by the abundance of their amphibian larval prey (tadpoles). Young nymphs of K. deyrolli mainly feed on tadpoles, regardless of differences in prey availability. Nymphs provided with tadpoles grow faster than nymphs provided with invertebrate prey. Therefore, tadpole consumption seems to be required to allow the nymphs to complete their larval development. In addition, the survival of K. deyrolli nymphs was greater during the period of highest tadpole density (June) than during a period of low tadpole density (July). Higher tadpole density moderates predation pressure from the water scorpion Laccotrephes japonensis (Nepidae: Heteroptera) on K. deyrolli nymphs; i.e., it has a density-mediated indirect effect. These results suggest that an abundance of tadpoles in June provides food for K. deyrolli nymphs (a direct bottom-up effect) and moderates the predation pressure from L. japonensis (an indirect bottom-up effect). An abundance of amphibian prey is indispensable for the conservation of this endangered giant water bug species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions of Insects and Amphibians)

Review

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Open AccessReview Predation of Ladybird Beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) by Amphibians
Insects 2012, 3(3), 653-667; doi:10.3390/insects3030653
Received: 25 April 2012 / Revised: 6 July 2012 / Accepted: 6 July 2012 / Published: 18 July 2012
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Abstract
Studies of predation of ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae) have focused on a limited number of predator taxa, such as birds and ants, while other potential predators have received limited attention. I here consider amphibians as predators of ladybirds. Published amphibian gut analyses show [...] Read more.
Studies of predation of ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae) have focused on a limited number of predator taxa, such as birds and ants, while other potential predators have received limited attention. I here consider amphibians as predators of ladybirds. Published amphibian gut analyses show that ladybirds are quite often eaten by frogs and toads (Anura), with recorded frequencies reaching up to 15% of dietary items. Salamanders (Caudata) eat ladybirds less frequently, probably as their habits less often bring them into contact with the beetles. Amphibians do not appear to be deleteriously affected by the potentially toxic alkaloids that ladybirds possess. Amphibians, especially frogs and toads, use primarily prey movement as a release cue to attack their food; it is thus likely that their ability to discriminate against ladybirds and other chemically defended prey is limited. Because of this poor discriminatory power, amphibians have apparently evolved non-specific resistance to prey defensive chemicals, including ladybird alkaloids. Although amphibian-related ladybird mortality is limited, in certain habitats it could outweigh mortality from more frequently studied predators, notably birds. The gut analyses from the herpetological literature used in this study, suggest that in studying predation of insects, entomologists should consider specialized literature on other animal groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions of Insects and Amphibians)
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Open AccessReview Trophic Interactions Between Insects and Stream-Associated Amphibians in Steep, Cobble-Bottom Streams of the Pacific Coast of North America
Insects 2012, 3(2), 432-441; doi:10.3390/insects3020432
Received: 16 February 2012 / Revised: 22 March 2012 / Accepted: 26 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (78 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Two native, stream-associated amphibians are found in coastal streams of the west coast of North America, the tailed frog and the coastal giant salamander, and each interacts with stream insects in contrasting ways. For tailed frogs, their tadpoles are the primary life [...] Read more.
Two native, stream-associated amphibians are found in coastal streams of the west coast of North America, the tailed frog and the coastal giant salamander, and each interacts with stream insects in contrasting ways. For tailed frogs, their tadpoles are the primary life stage found in steep streams and they consume biofilm from rock surfaces, which can have trophic and non-trophic effects on stream insects. By virtue of their size the tadpoles are relatively insensitive to stream insect larvae, and tadpoles are capable of depleting biofilm levels directly (exploitative competition), and may also “bulldoze” insect larvae from the surfaces of stones (interference competition). Coastal giant salamander larvae, and sometimes adults, are found in small streams where they prey primarily on stream insects, as well as other small prey. This predator-prey interaction with stream insects does not appear to result in differences in the stream invertebrate community between streams with and without salamander larvae. These two examples illustrate the potential for trophic and non-trophic interactions between stream-associated amphibians and stream insects, and also highlights the need for further research in these systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions of Insects and Amphibians)
Open AccessReview Reciprocal Trophic Interactions and Transmission of Blood Parasites between Mosquitoes and Frogs
Insects 2012, 3(2), 410-423; doi:10.3390/insects3020410
Received: 13 March 2012 / Revised: 20 March 2012 / Accepted: 21 March 2012 / Published: 3 April 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (91 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The relationship between mosquitoes and their amphibian hosts is a unique, reciprocal trophic interaction. Instead of a one-way, predator-prey relationship, there is a cyclical dance of avoidance and attraction. This has prompted spatial and temporal synchrony between organisms, reflected in emergence time [...] Read more.
The relationship between mosquitoes and their amphibian hosts is a unique, reciprocal trophic interaction. Instead of a one-way, predator-prey relationship, there is a cyclical dance of avoidance and attraction. This has prompted spatial and temporal synchrony between organisms, reflected in emergence time of mosquitoes in the spring and choice of habitat for oviposition. Frog-feeding mosquitoes also possess different sensory apparatuses than do their mammal-feeding counterparts. The reciprocal nature of this relationship is exploited by various blood parasites that use mechanical, salivary or trophic transmission to pass from mosquitoes to frogs. It is important to investigate the involvement of mosquitoes, frogs and parasites in this interaction in order to understand the consequences of anthropogenic actions, such as implementing biocontrol efforts against mosquitoes, and to determine potential causes of the global decline of amphibian species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions of Insects and Amphibians)

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