The effect of refuge on Dermestes ater (Coleoptera : Dermestidae) predation on Musca domestica (Diptera : Muscidae): Refuge for prey or the predator?
MetadataShow full item record
It is believed that habitat heterogeneity can change the extent of predator-prey interactions. Therefore, in this study we examined the effect of habitat heterogeneity (characterized here as an addition of refuge) on D. ater predation on M. domestica. Predation of D. ater on M. domestica larvae was carried out in experimental habitats with and without refuge, and examined at different prey densities. The number of prey eaten by beetles over 24 h of predator-prey interaction was recorded, and we investigated the strength of interaction between prey and predator in both experimental habitats by determining predator functional response. The mean number of prey eaten by beetles in the presence of refuge was significantly higher than in the absence of refuge. Females had greater weight gains than males. Logistic regression analyses revealed the type II functional response for both experimental habitats, even though data did not fit well into the random predator model. Results suggest that the addition of refuge in fact enhanced predation, as prey consumption increased in the presence of refuge. Predators kept in the presence of refuge also consumed more prey at high prey densities. Thus, we concluded that the addition of refuge was an important component mediating D. ater-M. domestica population interactions. Refuge actually acted as a refuge for predators from prey, since prey behaviors detrimental to predators were reduced in this case.