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Keywords:

  • Complex life history;
  • density-mediated indirect interaction (DMII);
  • higher order interaction (HOI);
  • Hyperoliidae;
  • multiple predators;
  • phenotypic plasticity;
  • predator-induced hatching;
  • trait-mediated indirect interaction (TMII)

Abstract

The effects of multiple predators on their prey are frequently non-additive because of interactions among predators. When prey shift habitats through ontogeny, many of their predators cannot interact directly. However, predators that occur in different habitats or feed on different prey stages may still interact through indirect effects mediated by prey traits and density. We conducted an experiment to evaluate the combined effects of arboreal egg-stage and aquatic larval-stage predators of the African treefrog, Hyperolius spinigularis. Egg and larval predator effects were non-additive – more Hyperolius survived both predators than predicted from their independent effects. Egg-stage predator effects on aquatic larval density and size and age at hatching reduced the effectiveness of larval-stage predators by 70%. Our results indicate that density- and trait-mediated indirect interactions can act across life-stages and habitats, resulting in non-additive multi-predator effects.