Natural enemy specialization and the period of population cycles


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The dynamical consequences of multiple-species interactions remain an elusive and fiercely debated topic. Recently, Murdoch and colleagues proposed a general rule for the dynamics of generalist natural enemies: when periodic, they exhibit single generation cycles (SGCs), similar to single species systems. This contrasts markedly with specialists, which tend to show classic (longer period) consumer–resource cycles. Using a well-studied laboratory system, we show that this general rule is contradicted when we consider resource age-structure.