Partitioning the non-consumptive effects of predators on prey with complex life histories

Jon M. Davenport, Blake R. Hossack, Winsor H. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Non-consumptive effects (NCEs) of predators on prey can be as strong as consumptive effects (CEs) and may be driven by numerous mechanisms, including predator characteristics. Previous work has highlighted the importance of predator characteristics in predicting NCEs, but has not addressed how complex life histories of prey could mediate predator NCEs. We conducted a meta-analysis to compare the effects of predator gape limitation (gape limited or not) and hunting mode (active or sit-and-pursue) on the activity, larval period, and size at metamorphosis of larval aquatic amphibians and invertebrates. Larval prey tended to reduce their activity and require more time to reach metamorphosis in the presence of all predator functional groups, but the responses did not differ from zero. Prey metamorphosed at smaller size in response to non-gape-limited, active predators, but counter to expectations, prey metamorphosed larger when confronted by non-gape-limited, sit-and-pursue predators. These results indicate NCEs on larval prey life history can be strongly influenced by predator functional characteristics. More broadly, our results suggest that understanding predator NCEs would benefit from greater consideration of how prey life history attributes mediate population and community-level outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Amphibian
  • Growth-predation risk
  • Invertebrate
  • Meta-analysis
  • Metamorphosis


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