Laboratory studies of predation by the Antarctic mite Gamasellus racovitzai (Acarina: Mesostigmata)

Laboratory investigations of predation by Gamasellus racovitzai (Acarina: Mesostigmata) on Cryptopygus antarcticus (Insecta: Collembola) are described. The predator appeared to search at random, but, when contact with prey had been made, a rapid attack involved looping the forelegs over the prey to hold it whilst the chelicerae moved forward horizontally to puncture the side of the prey. The mean predation rate by deutonymphs, approximately one prey per predator per 12 days, was independent of prey density, but with adults this rate increased to about one prey per predator per 3 days. A study of leg geometry predicted a maximum prey size that could be captured: some experimental evidence suggested that mites selected prey near to this predicted size. The contribution of the laboratory results towards understanding the dynamics of field populations is discussed.


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Authors: Usher, M.B., Bowring, M.F.B.

1 January, 1984
Oecologia / 62
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