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. 2020 May;23(5):902-918.
doi: 10.1111/ele.13489. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Enemies With Benefits: Integrating Positive and Negative Interactions Among Terrestrial Carnivores


Enemies With Benefits: Integrating Positive and Negative Interactions Among Terrestrial Carnivores

Laura R Prugh et al. Ecol Lett. .


Interactions among terrestrial carnivores involve a complex interplay of competition, predation and facilitation via carrion provisioning, and these negative and positive pathways may be closely linked. Here, we developed an integrative framework and synthesized data from 256 studies of intraguild predation, scavenging, kleptoparisitism and resource availability to examine global patterns of suppression and facilitation. Large carnivores were responsible for one third of mesocarnivore mortality (n = 1,581 individuals), and intraguild mortality rates were superadditive, increasing from 10.6% to 25.5% in systems with two vs. three large carnivores. Scavenged ungulates comprised 30% of mesocarnivore diets, with larger mesocarnivores relying most heavily on carrion. Large carnivores provided 1,351 kg of carrion per individual per year to scavengers, and this subsidy decreased at higher latitudes. However, reliance on carrion by mesocarnivores remained high, and abundance correlations among sympatric carnivores were more negative in these stressful, high-latitude systems. Carrion provisioning by large carnivores may therefore enhance suppression rather than benefiting mesocarnivores. These findings highlight the synergistic effects of scavenging and predation risk in structuring carnivore communities, suggesting that the ecosystem service of mesocarnivore suppression provided by large carnivores is strong and not easily replaced by humans.

Keywords: Carcass; carrion; cascade; fatal attraction; interspecific killing; intraguild predation; mesocarnivore; mesopredator; meta-analysis; scavenging.

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