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Density-Dependent Effects of Amphibian Prey on the Growth and Survival of an Endangered Giant Water Bug

Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, 2-509-3 Hirano, Otsu 520-2113, Japan
Insects 2011, 2(4), 435-446; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects2040435
Received: 7 September 2011 / Revised: 15 September 2011 / Accepted: 27 September 2011 / Published: 30 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions of Insects and Amphibians)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquatic insects; density-dependent indirect effect; intraguild predation; life history; rice fields, temporary water aquatic insects; density-dependent indirect effect; intraguild predation; life history; rice fields, temporary water
MDPI and ACS Style

Ohba, S.-Y. Density-Dependent Effects of Amphibian Prey on the Growth and Survival of an Endangered Giant Water Bug. Insects 2011, 2, 435-446.

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