Predation has been defined in various ways, as a general process of feeding on other (prey) organisms (e.g., May 1981) or as a more specific process of killing and consuming prey (e.g., Price 1997). Parasitism (and the related parasitoidism), the consumption of tissues in a living host, may or may not be included (e.g., Price 1997). Both predation and parasitism generally are considered to have positive effects for the predator or parasite but negative effects for the prey. In this section, predation is treated as the relatively opportunistic capture of multiple prey during a predator's lifetime. The following section will address the more specific parasite-host interactions.
Although usually considered in the sense of an animal killing and eating other animals (Fig. 8.3), predation applies equally well to carnivorous plants that kill and consume insect prey and to herbivores that kill and consume plant prey, especially those that feed on seeds and seedlings. Predator-prey and herbivore-plant interactions represent similar foraging strategies and are affected by similar factors (prey density and defensive strategy, predator ability to detect and orient toward various cues, etc.; see Chapter 3).
Insects, and related arthropods, represent major predators in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The importance of many arthropods as predators of insects
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