Antipredator behavior and the population dynamics of simple predator-prey systems.

A. R. Ives, A. P. Dobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


Derives a model that has one predator and one prey species; the prey species can display antipredator behavior, thereby decreasing their chance of being captured by the predator, but they must pay for this protection by a cost exacted through decreased fecundity or increased mortality caused by factors other than predation. The population-dynamic consequences of antipredator behaviors are explored by comparing systems in which the efficiencies of the antipredator behavior differ; as the antipredator behavior becomes more efficient, the prey need to invest less in order to achieve the same level of protection from the predator. For any degree of efficiency, the prey choose their level of investment in antipredator behavior in order to optimize their expected reproductive fitness. By assuming only that the predators and prey coexist and that there is a stable equilibrium, increased efficiency of antipredator behaviors increases prey densities and decreases the ratio of predator-to-prey densities. This is true even though the prey's level of investment in antipredator behavior initially increases and then decreases with increasing efficiency of the antipredator behavior. Consequently, the effect of antipredator behaviors on population densities cannot be inferred from the level of prey investment in these behaviors. Antipredator behaviors also tend to decrease the oscillatory dynamics inherent in model predator-prey systems.-from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-447
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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