Trophic strategies, animal diversity and body size

Trends in Ecology and Evolution
By:  and 



A primary difference between predators and parasites is the number of victims that an individual attacks throughout a life-history stage. A key division within natural enemies is whether a successful attack eliminates the fitness of the prey or the host. A third distinctive axis for parasites is whether the host must die to further parasite development. The presence or absence of intensity-dependent pathology is a fourth factor that separates macroparasites from microparasites; this also distinguishes between social and solitary predators. Combining these four dichotomies defines seven types of parasitism, seven corresponding parasites, three forms of predation and, when one considers obligate and facultative combinations of these forms, four types of predator. Here, we argue that the energetics underlying the relative and absolute sizes of natural enemies and their victims is the primary selective factor responsible for the evolution of these different trophic strategies.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Trophic strategies, animal diversity and body size
Series title Trends in Ecology and Evolution
DOI 10.1016/S0169-5347(02)02615-0
Volume 17
Issue 11
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher Cell Press
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 7 p.
First page 507
Last page 513
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