The ubiquity of intraguild predation among predatory arthropods

Annie Ève Gagnon, George E. Heimpel, Jacques Brodeur

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73 Scopus citations


Intraguild predation (IGP) occurs when one predator species attacks another predator species with which it competes for a shared prey species. Despite the apparent omnipresence of intraguild interactions in natural and managed ecosystems, very few studies have quantified rates of IGP in various taxa under field conditions. We used molecular analyses of gut contents to assess the nature and incidence of IGP among four species of coccinellid predators in soybean fields. Over half of the 368 predator individuals collected in soybean contained the DNA of other coccinellid species indicating that IGP was very common at our field site. Furthermore, 13.2% of the sampled individuals contained two and even three other coccinellid species in their gut. The interaction was reciprocal, as each of the four coccinellid species has the capacity to feed on the others. To our knowledge, this study represents the most convincing field evidence of a high prevalence of IGP among predatory arthropods. The finding has important implications for conservation biology and biological control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere28061
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 23 2011

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