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Not so unprecedented ...

Posted by Arne-Janssen on 24 Feb 2015 at 19:14 GMT

Wizen and Gaith state that previous cases of role reversals are related to herbivore prey that kill their predator but do not feed on it, citing our paper (Magalhães et al. 2005). This is not correct: the herbivore thrips prey that we studied does kill and does feed on the eggs of its predator. In the paper we remark: "Thrips larvae benefit from killing predator eggs because it supplements their diet (Janssen et al. 2003)." It seems that the experimental system of Wizen and Gaith is not as unprecedented as they suggest.

Arne Janssen
IBED, Section Population Biology
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Janssen, A., E. Willemse, and T. van der Hammen. “Poor Host Plant Quality Causes Omnivore to Consume Predator Eggs.” Journal of Animal Ecology 72 (2003): 478–83.

Magalhães, S., A. Janssen, M. Montserrat, and M. W. Sabelis. “Prey Attack and Predators Defend: Counterattacking Prey Trigger Parental Care in Predators.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 272 (2005): 1929–33.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Not so unprecedented ...

wizentrop replied to Arne-Janssen on 25 Feb 2015 at 00:22 GMT

Dear Dr. Janssen,

Thank you for your comment. I apologize if we mistakenly cited your papers incorrectly in our paper.

However, I think you are missing the key point presented in our paper. The term "unprecedented" corresponds to the evolutionary history of Epomis. These beetles, and to a greater extent their larvae, evolved to prey on amphibians (their potential predators), making them entirely dependent on amphibians for completion of their life cycle. This role reversal is obligatory, and does not depend on external environmental factors, such as diet quality discussed in your papers.

I suggest you read our paper till its end, and look at the numbers in the results section.

All the best,
Gil Wizen

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: Not so unprecedented ...

Arne-Janssen replied to wizentrop on 24 Mar 2015 at 18:14 GMT

Dear Dr Wizen,

Thank you very much for your reply.
Contrary to what you suggest, I did read your paper until the end. Yet I fail to see what is so unprecedented in your very interesting study system. As early as 1991, Gary Polis already published various food webs in which role reversals can be seen. According to your own definition, given in the discussion, several cases of role reversals can be found in the literature, besides that of Barkai and McQuaid. I suggest being more careful with assuming that everybody reads the available literature with the same rigor.

Yours sincerely,
Arne Janssen

No competing interests declared.