Data from: Prey exploitation and dispersal strategies vary among natural populations of a predatory mite
Revynthi, Alexandra M.; Egas, Martijn; Janssen, Arne; Sabelis, Maurice W. (2019), Data from: Prey exploitation and dispersal strategies vary among natural populations of a predatory mite, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8hs46jv
When predators commonly overexploit local prey populations, dispersal drives the dynamics in local patches, which together form a metapopulation. Two extremes in a continuum of dispersal strategies are distinguished: the “Killer” strategy, where predators only start dispersing when all prey are eliminated, and the “Milker” strategy, in which predator dispersal occurs irrespective of prey availability. Theory shows that the Milker strategy is not evolutionarily stable if local populations are well connected by dispersal. Using strains of the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis, collected from 11 native populations from coastal areas in Turkey and Sicily, we investigated whether these two strategies occur in nature. In small wind tunnels, we measured dispersal rates and population dynamics of all populations in a system consisting of detached rose leaves, spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) as prey, and P. persimilis. We found significant variation in the exploitation and dispersal strategies among predator populations, but none of the collected strains showed the extreme Killer or Milker strategy. The results suggest that there is genetic variation for prey exploitation and dispersal strategies. Thus, different dispersal strategies in the Milker–Killer continuum may be selected for under natural conditions. This may affect the predator–prey dynamics in local populations and is likely to determine persistence of predator–prey systems at the metapopulation level.