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Predation

biological interaction where a predator feeds on a prey organism

In ecology, predation is a biological interaction where a predator (an organism that is hunting) feeds on its prey (the organism that is attacked). Predators may or may not kill their prey prior to feeding on them, but the act of predation often results in the death of its prey and the eventual absorption of the prey's tissue through consumption.


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BEdit

 
When predators are capable of regulating prey populations, then they may indirectly influence both the composition and biomass of plant communities by releasing them from herbivory.
 
American Alligator with its prey - ...The ecosystem of the Big Cypress National Preserve (southwest Florida) appears to contain an unusually high number of such predators—most notably, the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis... the predation by alligators on snakes and turtles accounts for most of the trophic benefits bestowed... - Pedro Barbosa.
 
The senses of predators are adapted in a variety of ways to facilitate hunting behaviour. Visual acuity is great in raptors such as the red-tailed hawk, which soars on high searching for prey. Even on a dark night owls can hear, and focus on, the rustling sound and movement of a mouse. - Encyclopedia Britannica.
 
...White-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) monkeys perceive reduced predation risk in the high and middle forest layers, and they adjust their vigilance behavior to small-scale spatial variation in perceived risk. - Fernando A. Campos
  • Predation is probably as old as (cellular) life itself, and it is likely to have existed in many different forms and at many different levels during the formative phases of the Cambrian explosion (which culminated between 550 and 540 Ma)

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...Raptors did not hunt randomly, but rather preferentially predate on juveniles, sick gulls, and individuals with poor muscle condition. Strikingly, gulls with an unusually good muscle condition were also predated more than expected, supporting the mass-dependent predation risk theory. - Meritxell Genovart
 
For many animals, alarm calls are more than simple squawks of fear. Vervet monkeys, for instance, use different sounds to warn of different types of predator. "Leopard!" is not the same as "snake!" or "eagle!"... - Olivia Judson.
 
Meerkats — those charismatic mongooses that stand on their hind legs to scan for predators — give calls that announce both the general type of predator (coming from the sky, coming from the ground) and how close it is... - Olivia Judson.
 
Extinct Tasmanian Tigers - Most Australian mammals are now protected by law to some degree, but this protection has come too late to prevent the endangerment of many species that, like the Tasmanian Tiger, may yet face extinction. Massive human predation of koalas for their fur and to clear land for farming and building, for example, coupled with ongoing loss of habitat, has meant that these iconic Australian animals are no longer a common sight across their once extensive range. - John Simons.
  • Predation is an important selective force in evolution and is generally assumed to select against substandard individuals, i.e. the young, senescent, sick, or individuals in poor physical condition.
    Raptors did not hunt randomly, but rather preferentially predate on juveniles, sick gulls, and individuals with poor muscle condition. Strikingly, gulls with an unusually good muscle condition were also predated more than expected, supporting the mass-dependent predation risk theory.

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  • Meerkats — those charismatic mongooses that stand on their hind legs to scan for predators — give calls that announce both the general type of predator (coming from the sky, coming from the ground) and how close it is — in other words, how urgently everyone should react. Black-capped chickadees — small songbirds that live in North America — have calls that say whether a predator is flying or resting, and if it is resting, how dangerous it is.
  • Predators sometimes respond too. After all, alarm calls don't just let other animals know there's danger in the area. They can also let a predator know that it's been seen. Ambush predators, like leopards, often give up and go away once an alarm has been sounded.

LEdit

  • Most Australian mammals are now protected by law to some degree, but this protection has come too late to prevent the endangerment of many species that, like the Tasmanian Tiger, may yet face extinction. Massive human predation of koalas for their fur and to clear land for farming and building, for example, coupled with ongoing loss of habitat, has meant that these iconic Australian animals are no longer a common sight across their once extensive range.
    • John Simons, Animal issues in Australia, in: Andrew Linzey (ed. by), The Global Guide to Animal Protection, University of Illinois Press, 2013, p. 19
  • Today, snares remain prevalent around the world. They are used in subsistence and commercial hunting (including the fur trade), poaching (including the bushmeat trade), recreational bushcraft, population control, predator and "pset" species control and occasionally research.
    • Libby Anderson, Snares and snaring, in: Andrew Linzey (ed. by), The Global Guide to Animal Protection, University of Illinois Press, 2013, p. 79

MEdit

 
The endangered western stock of the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) – the largest of the eared seals – has declined by 80% from population levels encountered four decades ago. Current overall trends from the Gulf of Alaska to the Aleutian Islands appear neutral with strong regional heterogeneities...[studies] suggest predation on juvenile sea lions as the largest impediment to recovery of the species in the eastern Gulf of Alaska region... - Jo-Ann E. Mellish
 
Predators merely remove surplus animals, ones that would succumb even in the absence of natural enemies....
  • The endangered western stock of the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) – the largest of the eared seals – has declined by 80% from population levels encountered four decades ago. Current overall trends from the Gulf of Alaska to the Aleutian Islands appear neutral with strong regional heterogeneities...[studies] suggest predation on juvenile sea lions as the largest impediment to recovery of the species in the eastern Gulf of Alaska region...[study conclusion also suggests] the distinct possibility of predation as a major component of Steller sea lion population dynamics in particular at intermediate and low abundance levels.
  • Why tinker with the plain truth that we hurry the darker races to their graves in order to take their land & its riches? Wolves don't sit in their caves, concocting crapulous theories of race to justify devouring a flock of sheep! "Intellectual courage"? True "intellectual courage" is to dispense with these fig leaves & admit all peoples are predatory, but White predators, with our deadly duet of disease dust & firearms, are examplars of predacity par excellence, & what of it?

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  • It is easy to romanticise, say, tigers or lions and cats. We admire their magnificent beauty, strength and agility. But we would regard their notional human counterparts as wanton psychopaths of the worst kind.
 
Adult female Iris oratoria performing a threat display; the mantis rears back with the forelegs and wings spread and mouth opened. - Think about Praying Mantis. The deadliest ninja predator. Why isn't his animus a lion or a polar bear - two of the most successful killing machines in the animal kingdom?... Jane Prowse.
  • Think about Praying Mantis. The deadliest ninja predator. Why isn't his animus a lion or a polar bear - two of the most successful killing machines in the animal kingdom? The answer is that these animals would not be right for him. Think how a praying mantis is invisible on a leaf, how they are carnivores who will devour their own species. The female will even eat her own partner once they've mated and, as hatchlings, their first meal is often one of their own siblings. These are the things that matter to Praying Mantis - and if you study his attributes, they are elements that will help you defeat him.

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  • Predators merely remove surplus animals, ones that would succumb even in the absence of natural enemies. P.L. Errington exempts certain predator-prey relations from this scheme, however, and quotes the predation of wolves on deer as an example where predation probably is not related to the carrying capacity of the habitat.

SEdit

 
Remove the predators, and the whole ecosystem begins to crash like a house of cards. As the sharks disappear, the predator-prey balance dramatically shifts, and the health of our oceans declines. - Brian Skerry.
 
...Predation and physical disturbance inflict so much damage on biotas of the seafloor that populations of one species seldom monopolize a potentially limiting resource, except sporadically and locally. As a result, it is uncommon for any species to drive another to extinction through competitive exclusion... - Steven M. Stanley.
 
Well, let me tell you, ants are the dominant insects. They make up as much as a quarter of the biomass of all insects in the world. They are the principal predators. They're the cemetery workers. - E. O. Wilson.
 
...They come in the form of denuded seascapes and barren forests, ruled by jellyfish and urchins, killer deer and sociopathic monkeys... - William Stolzenburg
  • For many decades, ecology textbooks presented classical competition theory without reservation. The central principle here is that two species sharing an essential resource that is in limited supply cannot coexist for long because the competitively superior species will eliminate the other one. The implication is that ecological communities should be characterized by division of resources among species, or niche partitioning.
    Predation and physical disturbance inflict so much damage on biotas of the seafloor that populations of one species seldom monopolize a potentially limiting resource, except sporadically and locally. As a result, it is uncommon for any species to drive another to extinction through competitive exclusion—or even to force another species to drastically change its exploitation of any environmental resource throughout its geographic range.

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  • Predation can not become the habitual, conventional resource of any group or any class until industrial methods have been developed to such a degree of efficiency as to leave a margin worth fighting for, above the subsistence of those engaged in getting a living....The early development of tools and of weapons is of course the same fact seen from two different points of view. ...The predatory phase of culture is therefore conceived to come on gradually.
    • Thorstein Veblen in: "The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions", p. 20

WEdit

  • In prehistoric times, Homo sapiens were deeply endangered. Early humans were less fleet of foot, with fewer natural weapons and less well-honed senses than all the predators that threatened them. Moreover, they were hampered in their movements by the need to protect their uniquely immature young - juicy meals for any hungry beast.

Ecology of Predator-Prey InteractionsEdit

 
Variation in plant food, especially flowers, has a strong effect on the dispersal of most omnivorous insect predators.
 
Trinidadian guppies from a high-predation population exhibited a more intense antipredator response than conspecifics from a low-predation-risk population. - J. L. Kelley
 
Flying insects can exhibit other characteristics that protect them from bat predation (which may also reduce the selective pressure for evolving auditory defenses)... -J.H. Fullard
 
The Challenge of Eating versus Being Eaten: Most prey that respond to predators also face a trade-off between increased survival in the presence of predators and slower growth and development. For example, many species of rotifers and cladocerons develop spines in response to fish and invertebrate predators.
 
The extent that habitat structure influences spatial processes (e.g., numerical responses of predators, their inter-habitat dispersal, edge effects, and thus the coupling of predator-prey interactions in habitats compromised by human activity (e.g., fragmented landscapes) is also of immediate concern in conservation biology. - D.T. Bolger

Pedro Barbosa, Ignacio Castellanos Ecology of Predator-Prey Interactions, Oxford University Press, 11 August 2005

  • What is a predator? The answer is relatively straightforward for many species: an animal that eats another animal. However, recent research has shown that for other species the answer is more complex and that predatory species may not be as diet-limited as previously assumed.
    • In: p. 1
  • Regardless of whether one defines predator-prey interactions narrowly or broadly, what is clear is that at one point or another in the lives of most animals they are predators, prey, or both.
    • In: p. 2
  • Historically, predation and competition has received much more attention than mutualism. This bias is exemplified in the attention given to inter-specific interactions in ecology textbooks.
    • In: p. 18
  • An individual's response to local predation risk is shaped by the conflicting demands of predator avoidance and the benefits associated with a suite of fitness-related behaviors, such as foraging, mating and terrestrial defense.
    • Grant E. Brown, Douglas P. Chivers, in: p. 34
  • ...predator avoidance can lead to delayed ontogenetic niche shifts, resulting in decreased growth rates
    • A. C. Olson, et al., (1995) in: p. 35
  • Trinidadian guppies from a high-predation population exhibited a more intense antipredator response than conspecifics from a low-predation-risk population.
    • J. L. Kelley, A. E. Magurran (2003) in: p. 35
  • Populations exposed to varying predation threats, over time, may be selected toward the use of a learned response, because it would allow individuals to optimize the threat-sensitive trade-offs between survival and other fitness related benefits.
    • In: p. 36
  • Whether a species is a traditional predator (or an omnivore), or whether it responds to predation risk with fixed rather than learned behaviors, its success as a predator or a prey is determined by the capacity and efficiency of its sensory organs.
    • In: p. 73
  • Interactions between predators and prey are a major driving force for evolution and adaptation in animals. In any single encounter, the prey has more at stake, because failure means death, whereas the predator misses only a feeding opportunity.
    • In: p. 78
  • Flying insects can exhibit other characteristics that protect them from bat predation (which may also reduce the selective pressure for evolving auditory defenses). In rare cases, nocturnal insects reduce their exposure to bat predation by becoming diurnal (and restricting their amount of time that they fly at night) or by flying only at dusk before bats emerge.
    • J.H. Fullard, et al., in: p. 84
  • A more common strategy some insects employ to avoid bad predation is to continue flying at night but to vary their seasonal activity (either just after or before bats hibernate).
    • O. Svensson, et al., in: p. 84
  • Both predation and predator evasion are expensive and themselves dangerous. Some of the costs are metabolic, and these costs have been studied at length. Potentially more important, however, are the structural and behavioral trade-offs animals must make to be successful predators or long lived prey.
    • In: p. 98
  • The ability of animals to perceive changes in predation risk forms the foundation on which the nonlethal effects of predators are transmitted to prey populations and communities.
    • Steven L. Lima, Todd D. Steury in: p. 166
  • Recent neurological work suggests that the amygdala (in the vertebrate midbrain) is a key component in the assessment of predation risk and that differences in risk perception may reflect differences in the neural architecture of the amygdala.
    • In: p. 167
  • The Challenge of Eating versus Being Eaten: Most prey that respond to predators also face a trade-off between increased survival in the presence of predators and slower growth and development. For example, many species of rotifers and cladocerons develop spines in response to fish and invertebrate predators.
    • In: p. 193
  • The extent that habitat structure influences spatial processes (e.g., numerical responses of predators, their inter-habitat dispersal, edge effects, and thus the coupling of predator-prey interactions in habitats compromised by human activity (e.g., fragmented landscapes) is also of immediate concern in conservation biology.
    • D.T. Bolger, et al., in: p. 213
  • Diverse feeding habits might act to buffer predator populations against fluctuations in nutrient availability of particular prey species.
    • Micky D. Eubanks, Robert F. Denno (1999) in: p. 377

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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