Biological control in theory and practice.

W. W. Murdoch, J. Chesson, P. L. Chesson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

379 Scopus citations


A stable pest equilibrium is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for control: satisfactory control in model systems is compatible with both local extinction of the pest and polyphagy in the natural enemy. Only one of 9 real examples of successful control is convincingly a stable interaction; the remainder show either strong evidence for instability and local extinction of the pest or are consistent with this interpretation. Two strategies by which a natural enemy may control a pest in a nonequilibrium state, termed here 'lying-in-wait' and 'search-and-destroy,' are distinguished.-from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-366
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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