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Higher predation risk for insect prey at low latitudes and elevations

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  • Tomas Roslin
  • Bess Hardwick
  • Vojtech Novotny
  • William K. Petry
  • Nigel R. Andrew
  • Ashley L. Asmus
  • Isabel C. Barrio
  • Yves Basset
  • Andrea Larissa Boesing
  • Timothy C. Bonebrake
  • Erin K. Cameron
  • Wesley Dáttilo
  • David A. Donoso
  • Pavel Drozd
  • Claudia L. Gray
  • David S. Hik
  • Sarah J. Hill
  • Tapani Hopkins
  • Shuyin Huang
  • Bonny Koane
  • Liisa Laukkanen
  • Owen T. Lewis
  • Sol Milne
  • Isaiah Mwesige
  • Akihiro Nakamura
  • Colleen S. Nell
  • Alena Prokurat
  • Katerina Sam
  • Niels M. Schmidt
  • Alison Slade
  • Victor Slade
  • Alžběta Suchanková
  • Tiit Teder
  • Saskya van Nouhuys
  • Vigdis Vandvik
  • Anita Weissflog
  • Vital Zhukovich
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>19/05/2017
Issue number6339
Number of pages3
Pages (from-to)742-744
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Biotic interactions underlie ecosystem structure and function, but predicting interaction outcomes is difficult. We tested the hypothesis that biotic interaction strength increases toward the equator, using a global experiment with model caterpillars to measure predation risk. Across an 11,660-kilometer latitudinal gradient spanning six continents, we found increasing predation toward the equator, with a parallel pattern of increasing predation toward lower elevations. Patterns across both latitude and elevation were driven by arthropod predators, with no systematic trend in attack rates by birds or mammals. These matching gradients at global and regional scales suggest consistent drivers of biotic interaction strength, a finding that needs to be integrated into general theories of herbivory, community organization, and life-history evolution.

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