Ulrich Brose,1,22 Lara Cushing,10 Eric L. Berlow,2 Tomas Jonsson,3 Carolin Banasek-Richter,1 Louis-Felix Bersier,4 Julia L. Blanchard,5 Thomas Brey,6 Stephen R. Carpenter,7 Marie-France Cattin Blandenier,8 Joel E. Cohen,9 Hassan Ali Dawah,11 Tony Dell,12 Francois Edwards,13 Sarah Harper-Smith,14 Ute Jacob,6 Roland A. Knapp,15 Mark E. Ledger,13 Jane Memmott,16 Katja Mintenbeck,6 John K. Pinnegar,5 Björn C. Rall,1 Tom Rayner,17 Liliane Ruess,1 Werner Ulrich,18 Philip Warren,19 Rich J. Williams,10 Guy Woodward,20 Peter Yodzis,21and Neo D. Martinez10. 2005. Body sizes of consumers and their resources. Ecology 86:2545.

Data Paper

Ecological Archives E086-135.

Data Paper Revision 1

Ecological Archives E086-135-R1.
Submitted 22 August 2008. Published 26 August 2008.


Data Files


1 Department of Biology, Technical University of Darmstadt, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany

2 White Mountain Research Station, University of California, San Diego, 3000 E. Line Street, Bishop, California 93514 USA

3 Department of Natural Science, University of Skövde, S-541 28 Skövde, Sweden                                  

4 Department of Biology, Unit of Ecology and Evolution, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland

5 The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Pakefield Rd., Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HTUK

6 Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany

7 Center for Limnology, 680 North Park Street, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706 USA

8 Zoological Institute, Rue Emile-Argand 11, C.P. 2, CH-2007 Neuchatel, Switzerland

9 Laboratory of Populations, Rockefeller and Columbia Universities, New York, New York 10021 USA

10 Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Gothic, Colorado 81224 USA

11 King Khalid University, College of Science, Department of Biology, P.O. Box 9004, Abha, Saudi Arabia

12 Department of Zoology and Tropical Ecology, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811 Australia

13 School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT UK

14 Department of Biology, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, Washington 98119 USA

15 Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, University of California, HCR 79, Box 198, Crowley Lake, California 93546 USA

16 School of Biological Sciences, Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 3PZ UK

17 School of Tropical Biology and Rainforest CRC, James Cook University, Townsville, 4811 Australia

18 Department of Animal Ecology, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Gagarina 9, PL-87-100 Torun, Poland

19 Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN UK

20 School of Biological Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London, E1 4NS UK

21 Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1 Canada


Data Files

Data file, original

Data file is ASCII text, tab delimited. No compression schemes were used. Data set consists of 16,863 records, not including header row.


Data file, revision 1


Updated body size data for the food webs of Mill Stream and Skipwih Pond. Three additional predator–prey links were added to the Skipwith Pond data. All other food web data remain unchanged. The new database now contains 16,866 rows and the sum over the data in the column "Consumer/resource body mass ratio" now equals 2.47388 × 1020.


Trophic information – who eats whom – and species’ body sizes are two of the most basic descriptions necessary to understand community structure as well as ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Consumer-resource body size ratios between predators and their prey, and parasitoids and their hosts, have recently gained increasing attention due to their important implications for species’ interaction strengths and dynamical population stability. This data set documents body sizes of consumers and their resources. We gathered body size data for the food webs of Skipwith Pond, a parasitoid community of grass-feeding chalcid wasps in British grasslands; the pelagic community of the Benguela system, a source web based on broom in the United Kingdom; Broadstone Stream, UK; the Grand Cariçaie marsh at Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Tuesday Lake, USA; alpine lakes in the Sierra Nevada of California; Mill Stream, UK; and the eastern Weddell Sea Shelf, Antarctica. Further consumer–resource body size data are included for planktonic predators, predatory nematodes, parasitoids, marine fish predators, freshwater invertebrates, Australian terrestrial consumers, and aphid parasitoids. Containing 16,863 records, this is the largest data set ever compiled for body sizes of consumers and their resources. In addition to body sizes, the data set includes information on consumer and resource taxonomy, the geographic location of the study, the habitat studied, the type of the feeding interaction (e.g., predacious, parasitic) and the metabolic categories of the species (e.g., invertebrate, ectotherm vertebrate). The present data set was gathered with intent to stimulate research on effects of consumer–resource body size patterns on food-web structure, interaction-strength distributions, population dynamics, and community stability. The use of a common data set may facilitate cross-study comparisons and understanding of the relationships between different scientific approaches and models.

Key words: allometry; body length; body mass; body size ratio; food webs; parasitoid–host; predation; predator–prey.

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