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Open AccessArticle

Intraspecific Behavioral Variation Mediates Insect Prey Survival via Direct and Indirect Effects

1
Department of Biology, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 06106, USA
2
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93107, USA
3
Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas 13083-862, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040152
Received: 27 March 2020 / Revised: 10 April 2020 / Accepted: 12 April 2020 / Published: 16 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
Conspecific individuals often exhibit behavioral differences that influence susceptibility to predation. Yet, how such trait differences scale to affect prey population regulation and community structure remains unclear. We used an 8 day field mesocosm experiment to explore the effects of intraspecific prey behavioral trait variation on survival in an herbivorous insect community. We further manipulated spider predator composition to test for top-down context-dependence of behavioral effects. Insect prey behavioral trait variance influenced survival through both direct (i.e., variation among conspecifics) and indirect (i.e., variation among heterospecifics) mechanisms. The behavioral variance of two prey species, Philaenus and Orchelimum, directly reduced their survival, though for Philaenus, this direct negative effect only occurred in the presence of a single spider predator species. In contrast, the survival of Scudderia was enhanced by the behavioral trait variance of the surrounding insect community, an indirect positive effect. Taken together, these results emphasize the importance of accounting for intraspecific variation in community ecology, demonstrating novel pathways by which individual-level behavioral differences scale to alter population and community level patterns. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal personality; boldness; food web; herbivorous insects; indirect interaction; intraspecific trait variation; jumping spiders; old field; predator selection; trait-mediated animal personality; boldness; food web; herbivorous insects; indirect interaction; intraspecific trait variation; jumping spiders; old field; predator selection; trait-mediated
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Toscano, B.J.; Lichtenstein, J.L.L.; Costa-Pereira, R. Intraspecific Behavioral Variation Mediates Insect Prey Survival via Direct and Indirect Effects. Diversity 2020, 12, 152.

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