Evol Ecol Res 8: 1193-1214 (2006)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Do marsupials make good predators? Insights from predator–prey diversity ratios

Darin A. Croft

Department of Anatomy, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-4930, USA

e-mail: dcroft@case.edu


Questions: Was mammalian predator diversity in South America unusually low during the Cenozoic before the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI)? If yes, what factors might account for this? Does a similarly low diversity of predators characterize modern and fossil Australian faunas?

Data studied: Predator and prey diversity for 385 modern mammal faunas, 13 South American paleofaunas, and 15 Australian paleofaunas.

Analysis method: I regressed predator diversity on prey diversity by continent for both modern and fossil faunas and compared slopes and intercepts of the regression lines. I also compared relative predator diversity (= predator–prey ratios) using analysis of variance.

Conclusions: Predator diversity is much lower than expected in pre-GABI South American faunas and in modern and fossil Australian faunas; in all of these, marsupials are the primary predators.

Keywords: Australia, carnivore, Cenozoic, marsupial, paleofauna, phorusrhacid, predator diversity, South America.

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