Park's Tribolium competition experiments: A non-equilibrium species coexistence hypothesis

Jeffrey Edmunds, J. M. Cushing, R. F. Costantino, Shandelle M. Henson, Brian Dennis, R. A. Desharnais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


1. In this journal 35 years ago, P. H. Leslie, T. Park and D. B. Mertz reported competitive exclusion data for two Tribolium species. It is less well-known that they also reported 'difficult to interpret' coexistence data. We suggest that the species exclusion and the species coexistence are consequences of a stable coexistence two-cycle in the presence of two stable competitive exclusion equilibria. 2. A stage-structured insect population model for two interacting species forecasts that as interspecific interaction is increased there occurs a sequence of dynamic changes (bifurcations) in which the classic Lotka-Volterra-type scenario with two stable competitive exclusion equilibria is altered abruptly to a novel scenario with three locally stable entities; namely, two competitive exclusion equilibria and a stable coexistence cycle. This scenario is novel in that it predicts the competitive coexistence of two nearly identical species on a single limiting resource and does so under circumstances of increased interspecific competition. This prediction is in contradiction to classical tenets of competition theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-712
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Competitive coexistence
  • Competitive exclusion
  • Flour beetle
  • Thomas Park

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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