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Data from: Avian predation pressure as a potential driver of periodical cicada cycle length

Citation

Koenig, Walter D.; Liebhold, Andrew M. (2012), Data from: Avian predation pressure as a potential driver of periodical cicada cycle length, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.b6k41

Abstract

The extraordinarily long life cycles, synchronous emergences at 13- or 17-year intervals, and complex geographic distribution of periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) in eastern North America are an evolutionary enigma. Although a variety of factors, including satiation of above-ground predators and avoidance of interbrood hybridization, have been hypothesized to shape the evolution of this system, no empirical support for these mechanisms has previously been reported beyond the observation that bird predation can extirpate small, experimentally mistimed emergences. Here we show that periodical cicada emergences appear to set populations of potential avian predators on numerical trajectories that result in significantly lower potential predation pressure during the subsequent emergence. This result provides new support for the importance of predators in shaping periodical cicada life history, offers an ecological rationale for why emergences are synchronized at the observed multi-year intervals, and may explain some of the developmental plasticity observed in these unique insects.

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