2000), and top vertebrate predators typically disappear from all but the largest habitat fragments (Terborgh et al. 2001). Similarly, Zabel and Tscharnke (1998) found CH5424802 research buy insect predators to be more sensitive to habitat patch isolation than insect herbivores. Among non-rare arthropod species in the present study, there was no evidence that carnivores were more vulnerable to invasive ants than were herbivores or detritivores. Among rare species, however, trophic role was significantly related to vulnerability,
but only for endemic species. Rare endemic carnivores were by far the most likely group to be absent in ant-invaded plots (Table 2), with vulnerable species belonging to six different taxonomic orders. Rare endemic detritivores were the next most vulnerable group. One reason that carnivore species are often at risk is that they tend to exist at lower densities than herbivores and detritivores. But in these
communities, trophic role was most clearly important for rare species, among which population density varied little. Instead, endemic carnivores at our study sites may be especially vulnerable to invasive ants because, in addition to experiencing direct predation and interference competition for feeding or refuge sites, they may also experience exploitation competition for prey resources. Invasive ants are also efficient scavengers, so they may similarly compete with some detritivores or omnivores for food resources (McNatty et al. 2009), although it has also been hypothesized that some detritivores may enjoy an increased resource base consisting of abundant ant carcasses Ispinesib research buy in invaded areas (Porter and Savignano 1990; Cole et al. 1992). Herbivores, as a group, may be least vulnerable SGC-CBP30 mouse because most of them will not be competing with ants for food resources
to any great extent. In addition, some endemic herbivores, such as delphacid planthoppers, are tolerated by ants, perhaps because they produce honeydew (Krushelnycky 2007, Supplementary Tables 2 and 3). Finally, we found no association between body size and the likelihood or magnitude of population reduction as a result of ant invasion, regardless of whether a species was rare or not, or whether we ADAMTS5 controlled for other explanatory factors, including phylogenetic trends. Large body size is often correlated with other factors thought to increase vulnerability in animals, such as lower fecundity, slower development, lower abundance or density and larger range requirements (Reynolds 2003). These associations, however, do not always hold, leading to much variation among taxa in the relationship between size and vulnerability (McKinney 1997; Fisher and Owens 2004). In the present study, larger species had slightly lower densities and tended to occupy higher trophic positions than smaller species, which should make larger species less resilient to losses from ant predation.