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Raccoons and skunks are mesopredators. Pictured is a common raccoon and a striped skunk eating cat food in an urban area.

A mesopredator is a medium-sized predator in the middle of a trophic level,[1] which typically preys on smaller animals. When populations of apex predators decrease, populations of mesopredators often increase. This is the mesopredator release effect. "Mesopredator outbreaks often lead to declining prey populations, sometimes destabilizing communities and driving local extinctions."[2] Apex predators reduce mesopredator populations, and change mesopredator behaviors and habitat choices, by preying on and intimidating mesopredators.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Groom, Martha; Meffe, Gary (August 5, 2005). Principles of Conservation Biology. Sinauer Associates, Inc. ISBN 978-0878935970. 
  2. ^ Prugh, Laura R.; Stoner, Chantal J.; Epps, Clinton W.; Bean, William T.; Ripple, William J.; Laliberte, Andrea S.; Brashares, Justin S. (2009-10-01). "The Rise of the Mesopredator". BioScience. 59 (9): 779–791. ISSN 0006-3568. doi:10.1525/bio.2009.59.9.9. 
  3. ^ Ritchie, Euan G.; Johnson, Christopher N. (2009-09-01). "Predator interactions, mesopredator release and biodiversity conservation". Ecology Letters. 12 (9): 982–998. ISSN 1461-0248. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01347.x.