Disentangling the coexistence strategies of mud-daubing wasp species through trophic analysis in oases of Baja California peninsula

Autoři: Armando Falcón-Brindis aff001;  Ricardo Rodríguez-Estrella aff001;  María Luisa Jiménez aff001
Působiště autorů: Entomology and Arachnology Laboratory (Laboratorio de Aracnología y Entomología), Conservation and Environmental Planning Program (Programa de Planeación Ambiental y Conservación), Northwest Biological Research Center (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas aff001;  Entomology and Arachnology Laboratory (Laboratorio de Aracnología y Entomología), Conservation and Environmental Planning Program (Programa de Planeación Ambiental y Conservación), Northwest Biological Research Center (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225266


Species within the same trophic level show different strategies to avoid competition. Among these mechanisms, differences in body size, spatio-temporal segregation, and diet preference often leads to a niche partitioning. Nonetheless, little attention on coexisting predatory insects and their network interactions has been paid. In this study, we analyzed the strategies to avoid competition among three sympatric mud-daubing wasps of the genus Trypoxylon (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) in oases and their surrounding xeric area from the Baja California peninsula, Mexico. We compared the prey richness, composition and proportion of spider guilds that were captured by the wasps. We tested whether the differences in wasp body size explained the niche breadth, niche overlap and the size of spider prey. We assessed the spider-wasp interactions through a network analysis. With the use of trap-nests, we collected 52 spider species captured by the wasps. Both the guild and species composition of preyed spiders was different between the three wasp species. Differential proportions in the capture of spider guilds and a little diet overlap were found among the wasp species. We found that the wasp body size was positively correlated with prey size, but it was not a proxy of niche breadth. Moreover, the largest wasp species was able to nest in both mesic and xeric habitats, while the two smaller species were restricted to the oases. This study reveals that the diversity of spiders in oases of Baja California peninsula is crucial to maintain highly specialized oasis-dependent wasp species. The niche partitioning between mud-daubing wasps can be shaped by their inherent body size limitations and hunting strategies through foraging specialization for specific spider guilds. Food selection and slight differences in body size reduce competition and allow the coexistence of sympatric wasps. Our study is the first approach exploring the interaction networks between mud-daubing wasps and their spider preys, highlighting new insights into the morphological and ecological factors that shape antagonistic interactions, and allow the coexistence of predators in deserts.

Klíčová slova:

Deserts – Ecological niches – Physiological parameters – Predation – Species diversity – Spiders – Trophic interactions – Spider webs


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