Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Predation models for primary and secondary prey species

R. P. Pech, A. R. E. Sinclair and A. E. Newsome

Wildlife Research 22(1) 55 - 63
Published: 1995


In Australia, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a generalist predator of European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and a range of small to medium-sized native species. The available evidence suggests that foxes are capable of regulating rabbits in semi-arid environments but their role in the population dynamics of other prey species is not clear.

A series of models, and associated experimental tests, that compare the effects of predation on primary and secondary prey species are described. The models are appropriate to the time scale of prey dynamics and differ from recent predator–prey models that focus on predator dynamics. These ideas are discussed for the fox and several of its prey species in Australia.


© CSIRO 1995

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