I am attempting to create a food web for my iNaturalist project, linked at the bottom of this post. I started with insects, but I can’t find any websites that list the predators for specific species. Are there any online ressources or books that I can use to find this information?
iNaturalist preoject : https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/wildlife-of-the-montreal-technoparc-wetlands
Will you address parasitic relationships as well?
I scrolled through the species list and couldn’t find any parasitic bees or predatory robber flies. I think you’ll have general insect > bird predation in the web and aphids > lady beetles.
Yeah there are many levels of predation and parasitism just within insects.
For most small songbirds, caterpillars are the largest group in their diet with spiders second. They’ll definitely eat other kinds of insects when they find them though. Flycatchers, swallows, and other aerial insectivores focus more on flies, dragonflies etc.
Reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, fish surely eat plenty of insects as well but I’m less familiar with the specifics of their diets.
I think the information you need is found in multiple places. But I’d start with National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America by Arthur V. Evans.
Is the insect’s enemy focused and does it seek it out in preference to other prey? Parasites for instance, braconid wasps, tachinid flies, etc. tend to be specialists and go for only certain hosts that provide the best environment for their young to survive.
Or is the insect’s enemy an opportunist? Many predators don’t target any one family, genus, or species but just get what they can. Orbweaving spiders are important predators of all sorts of winged insects. I think they pretty much eat whatever they can catch in their webs. Crab spiders tend to stake out flowers and grab whatever comes in their reach.
Ambush bugs and Assassin bugs tend to be generalists as well and get whatever comes in reach of their hiding places on the flowers.
The food web is like a game of musical chairs the participants are always changing places.
Yes, I was thinking of making either an online or physical diagram with different coloured arrows representing different relationships.
At first, I wanted to make a super detailed web, but now I’m beginning to think I’ll probably have to group certain families of insects together to make it work. I may be able to find more detailed predation by looking at the predators themselves, though, as suggest by @upupa-epops. I’ll also try and get my hands on the Field Guide to the Insects and Spiders of North America, and the Predators project on iNat will also be helpful. Thank you all for your responses!
You may also try to google already existing diagrams, as it’s a common thing to create ones, it would help with orders and often families, e.g.
Are you trying to make a link between observations of predator and prey?
If so, perhaps you can have a look at the Interactions (s Afr) project for inspiration/ideas. In this project, we link between observations of predator/prey or parasite/host that are located in the southern African region. Not just between animals but also plants.
It’s really quite a cool project.
One of the Goldenrod Crab spiders in your project is pictured with its prey so I filled in a field “Preying on ___” I’d link it here, but I’m just on my phone, not my desktop today.
Yes, thank you, I saw your comment. Honestly I didn’t think of looking at observations from the project to see that.
what is the bird on the top right side?
I think it’s a European Roller
Yeah, roller, it’s a poster with Coraciiformes in old understaning of it (with hoopoe).
p.s. If you’re interested in them, check African species, some are just amazing.
You’re welcome. All the best on your food webs!
You may have to make some logical assumptions. For example, if your pool of species includes a caterpillar with no specific anti-bird defenses, and a sparrow species that patrols the caterpillar’s environment and is known to eat caterpillars, you can reasonably assume that the sparrow probably eats that specific caterpillar species.
Did you check eol.org
‘‘feeds on chipmunk’’
this aggregates records of interactions between taxa from different sources, including iNaturalist: https://www.globalbioticinteractions.org/. you could search for prey / predator or eating interactions.
And there are also fungi that use insects eg Cordyceps genus. There are more
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