A group of conservation biologists at the University of Exeter have confirmed that the extinction of one species of a carnivore can lead to the extinction of fellow species of predators. The research team placed several species of aphids and parasitoid wasps, which are aphids’ natural enemies, in experimental communities with complex food webs in outdoor field cages. The team observed that when they removed a particular species of wasp from the food web, the other wasp species also became extinct. This also had an effect on the population of aphids: when a wasp species became extinct, the population of its aphid-prey increased. As a result, the other wasp species suffered, ultimately leading to their extinction. The researchers believe that this experiment will help us understand how to conserve endangered carnivores and predict the effect of the extinction of one species on the other species.
Read more in Science Daily.