SREL Reprint #0684




Predator-Prey Relationships Among Larval Dragonflies, Salamanders, and Frogs

J. P. Caldwell, J. H. Thorp, and T. O. Jervey



Tadpoles of the barking tree frog.  Hyla gratiosa, are abundant in spring and summer in some ponds and Carolina bays on the Savannah River Plant near Aiken, South Carolina.  To determine how these tadpoles survive in the presence of predaceous salamander larvae.  Ambystoma talpoideum. And larvae of an aeshnid dragonfly, Anax junius, we determined fields densities and sizes of the predators and the prey and conducted predation experiments in the laboratory.  Tadpoles rapidly grow to a size not captured by Ambystoma, although Anax larvae can capture slightly larger tadpoles.  Differing habitat preferences among the tadpoles and the two predator species probably aid in reducing predation pressure.  Preliminary work indicates that in reducing predation pressure.  Preliminary work indicates that the tadpoles may have an immobility response to an attack by a predator.  In addition, the smallest, most vulnerable tadpoles have a distinctive color pattern which may function to disrupt the body outline and make them indiscernible to predators.


SREL Reprint #0684

Caldwell, J.P., J.H. Thorp, and T.O. Jervey. 1980. Predator prey relationships among larval dragonflies, salamanders, and frogs. Oecologia 46:285-289.

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