Understanding predator–prey relations is critical for management and conservation of species. Common descriptions of predator–prey dynamics often imply that low population density of prey, prey switching by predators, and high fecundity or productivity of prey are important in allowing prey species to coexist with predators. Studies of the effects of introduced predators on prey species do not support the idea that low prey density, switching by predators, and fecundity of prey are vital to coexistence of predator and prey. More likely, prey have a suite of morphological and behavior adaptations, including uses of specific habitat features, that render some individuals far less vulnerable to predation and allow predators and prey to coexist. Management activities designed to maintain desired prey species should include maintaining or enhancing features of habitat that reduce prey vulnerability.
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Vol. 69 • No. 4