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Temperature: Diet Interactions Affect Survival through Foraging Behavior in a Bromeliad-Dwelling Predator

Abstract : Temperature, food quantity and quality play important roles in insect growth and survival, influencing population dynamics as well as interactions with other community members. However, the interaction between temperature and diet and its ecological consequences have been poorly documented. Toxorhynchites are well‐known biocontrol agents for container‐inhabiting mosquito larvae. We found that Toxorhynchites haemorrhoidalis larvae (Diptera: Culicidae) inhabiting water‐filled rosettes of tank bromeliads catch and eat prey of both aquatic (mosquito larvae) and terrestrial origin (ants), using distinct predatory methods. They carried out frontal attacks on ants, but ambushed mosquito larvae. In choice tests, T. haemorrhoidalis favored terrestrial prey. Temperature had a significant effect on predator development and survival through its interaction with diet, but did not alter the preference for ants. T. haemorrhoidalis larvae emerged quickly when fed only mosquito larvae, whereas all individuals died before pupation when fed only ants. We conclude that behavioral factors (i.e., attraction to ants that disturb the surface of the water) overtake physiological factors (i.e., the adverse outcome of elevated temperature and an ant‐based diet) in determining a predator's response to temperature:diet interactions. Finally, because T. haemorrhoidalis larvae preferentially feed on terrestrial insects in tank bromeliads, mosquito larvae may indirectly benefit from predation release.
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Olivier Dézerald, Régis Céréghino, Bruno Corbara, Alain Dejean, Céline Leroy. Temperature: Diet Interactions Affect Survival through Foraging Behavior in a Bromeliad-Dwelling Predator. Biotropica, Wiley, 2015, 47 (5), pp.569-578. ⟨10.1111/btp.12249⟩. ⟨hal-02084254⟩

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