Title

Conflict between antipredator and antiparasite behaviour in larval damselflies

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2-1997

Abstract

Larval damselflies resist infestation by parasitic larval mites by exhibiting behaviours such as grooming, crawling, swimming, and striking at host-seeking mites. Larval damselflies are known to increase lime spent in these behaviours in the presence of mites but reduce time spent in these behaviours in the presence of fish predators. The presence of both fish and larval mites presents all obvious conflict: a larval damselfly may actively avoid parasitism by mites, thus increasing its risk of predation, or it may reduce its activity when fish are present, thus increasing its risk of parasitism. We analysed the behaviour of larval Ischnura verticalis in an experiment where we crossed presence and absence of fish with presence and absence of larval mites. Presence of mites induced a large increase in activity of larval I. verticalis but fish had no effect and there were no interpretable interactions between effects of mites and fish. Subsequent experiments indicated that larval I. verticalis, in the presence of both mites and fish were more likely to be attacked and killed by fish than those exposed only to fish. The high activity level of I. verticalis larvae in the presence of both fish and mites may suggest that costs of parasitism are high, or that under field conditions it is rare for larvae to be in the immediate presence of both fish predators and potentially parasitic miles.

Publication Name

Oecologia

Volume Number

109

First Page

622

Last Page

628

Issue Number

4

DOI

10.1007/s004420050125

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