The aim of this study was to test the hypotheses that body size and seasonal differences in temperature and size structure influence cannibalism in larval dragonflies. In the first two experiments, larvae that were either similar or different in size were paired to examine the potential for intra- and intercohort cannibalism. In the third experiment, size structure of an assemblage of larvae and water temperature were manipulated to explore the seasonal dynamics of cannibalism. Cannibalism was common between individuals that differed in body size by one or more instars. Cannibalism also occurred between individuals similar in size but the rate varied across developmental stages. Results suggest that cannibalism may be most common when water temperatures are warm and late-instar larvae are present at high densities. These results highlight the importance of intra- and intercohort cannibalism as factors that can influence the population dynamics of generalist predators.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science