Foraging modes of predators and behaviors of prey determine the outcome of multiple predator interactions

Michael P. Carey, David H. Wahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Interactions with multiple predator species may differ among prey with different antipredator defenses. The interactions between largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides (a cruising predator) and muskellunge Esox masquinongy (an ambush predator) and prey with different antipredator behaviors, bluegill Lepomis macrochirus and fathead minnow Pimephales promelas, was examined in mesocosms. In the combined predator treatment, no differences were found in the foraging sequence for the cruising predator, whereas the ambush predator increased the number of follows and pursuits. Bluegills altered their behavior across predator treatments by changing their activity levels and habitat use. Ultimately, the ambush predator benefited from the combined predators because of a greater encounter frequency with bluegills that led to more captures and a risk-enhanced effect on bluegills. The high vulnerability of fathead minnow to individual ambush and cruising predators led to a neutral effect from combined predators. Predator foraging modes and prey behavior must be taken into account to understand natural food webs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1022
Number of pages8
JournalTransactions of the American Fisheries Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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